The Important Role of Air Filters in Quarantine Hotels

April 26, 2021
A hotel room with a queen sized bed, two side tables and lamps on both sides, a white single sofa and an ottoman in front of the bed.

All around Australia and the world, hotels are being used to quarantine returning travellers and prevent local COVID-19 outbreaks. While people are usually thoroughly screened while travelling, this quarantine process allows potential carriers to be more thoroughly evaluated to ensure that they are verifiably free of the virus – something that is especially important as new strains are detected. One of the most significant challenges is to prevent the hotel itself from becoming a virus hotspot, and hotels need a wide range of solutions, technologies and strict protocols in place in order to stop the virus from jumping from a traveller to other travellers, hotel staff, and onwards into the country. Using the right air filters in hotel ventilation systems play a key role in addressing this issue in a way that is affordable, practical and highly effective.

Ventilation Systems and COVID-19

At this stage, it has been well-established that the virus can spread through airborne transmission, which is why regulations around wearing masks, gathering with others and physically distancing have been implemented worldwide. However, it’s easy to forget to include ventilation systems in these protocols.

Because these systems circulate air throughout a building (usually through a centralised system), it is possible to spread infected air to other parts of the building. Air can also easily travel under doors, through ceiling panels, down hallways and even through gaps around light fixtures. As a result, there have been outbreaks of COVID-19 in quarantine hotels that have prompted a national review of the protocols and processes for hotel quarantine.

A hotel room with a thick light gray quilt on a queen sized bed, coffee making station by the door and a long air duct just above the side of the bed near the exit.

Air Filters – A Cost-Effective Solution That Puts Health and Safety First

In reality, it would be incredibly costly and almost impossible to seal off areas of airflow in a hotel while still supplying plentiful, fresh air to those under quarantine as well as staff and service providers. For example, the simple act of opening a door to collect a meal is going to allow air within the room to circulate with the air outside in the hallway, even if the hallway and room had their own separate ventilation systems.

However, while ventilation systems can be a challenge in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in a quarantine situation, they are also key to solving this issue. In fact, the Environmental Protection Authority states that HVAC systems, air conditioners and air cleaners are one of the most effective tools for removing COVID-19 particles (as well as allergens, pollutants and other airborne contaminants) from a building environment – but they need to be used correctly and in conjunction with one very important element – high-quality air filters.

In order to remove the virus particles, air filters in quarantine hotels need to be able to remove particles in the size range of 0.1-1um. These air filters are typically rated through the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) rating system or High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) system.

Having a professional HVAC specialist evaluate a commercial system to install and maintain the correct air filters is a highly-effective and cost-effective route for quarantine hotels looking to reduce transmission risks as much as possible. It’s more affordable and more practical than installing commercial ventilation systems that ensure no air is shared between rooms, and it works to protect everyone in the building, from guests to staff and service providers.

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