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At the beginning of this year – and shortly after the start of– Kentucky-based manufacturer Big Ass Fans introduced the , a luxury smart ceiling fan with disinfecting UV lights built into the base and aimed at the ceiling. The playing field was pretty current – as the fan circulates air through the room, these UV lights kill airborne pathogens that cross their path.
After several independent tests in accredited laboratories, the company tells Tips Clear that the fan – which starts at around $ 1,750 – can kill SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.
“With regard to the aerosol tests, we were able to determine a reduction of approx. 48% [of airborne SARS-CoV-2] after 5 minutes over the fan and after 10 minutes by about 86% compared to the fan, “says the cover letter of a test report from Kevin Noble, COO of Innovative Bioanalysis, the California laboratory that tested the fan against the coronavirus.” It can be concluded that an overall reduction of 99.99% or more occurred between 10 and 20 minutes. ”
The letter that Big Ass fans shared with Tips Clear ends with a confirmation of the effectiveness of ultraviolet light against COVID-19.
“In terms of whether your technology is capable of denaturing SARS-CoV-2, I would say that you can clearly determine that pathogens in the air passing over the fan and through the UVC are actually being caused by the UV Light can be negatively influenced, “concludes Noble’s letter.
Now withBig Ass Fans is ready to market this fan as a COVID killer.
“Our work with independent laboratories enables us to quantify and verify the reduction in harmful viruses, including SARS CoV-2 and other pathogens and volatile organic compounds,” said Lennie Rhoades, CEO of Big Ass Fans. “These third-party results give our customers confidence that the Clean Air System will make their employees and businesses safer.”
Safety is a key concern with ultraviolet light. There are three types of UV light: UVA, UVB and UVC. The first two are strong enough to burn your skin if you’re in the sun for too long. However, UVC is the strongest and can burn eyes and skin in seconds. It is also a known carcinogen.
Fortunately, the UVC light produced by the sun is almost entirely absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere – but the renewed interest in UVC’s capabilities as a disinfectant has led to a deluge of new products designed to bring the invisible light into homes and businesses. That is what security scientists have led– especially with hand-held UVC rods that glow openly during use.
“During the pandemic, there has been a surge in interest in UV germicidal devices, including those that are now more consumer-centric,” said Todd Straka, global lighting industry director at Underwriters Laboratories, where UVC products are tested for safety certification. “These can be very dangerous if you don’t use them properly.”
The same safety scientists tell Tips Clear they are less concerned with upstairs germicidal products like the Haiku UV-C, which use UV light to purify the air above eye level – though they have offered some additional guidelines.
“The concerns that still need to be addressed are to make sure that it is properly installed and is the required distance from the ground to the light [at least 7 feet]and that the UV light goes up, not down from that perspective, “says Pamela Gwynn, chief engineer for UL’s life and health sciences related to medical devices.
To this end, Big Ass Fans note that each Haiku UVC has been installed by a trained technician from their network of professional dealers and certified by Intertek to meet North American safety standards. The company adds that the UV lamps can be turned off independently of the fan and turn off automatically when the fan is off. This makes space for safe maintenance and cleaning.
From the laboratory to the classroom?
Big Ass Fans tells Tips Clear that there is interest in Haiku UV-C in a wide variety of homes and businesses across the country, adding that the fan is being tested for effectiveness in a number of different environments. This includes test chambers that are supposed to imitate living rooms and bedrooms – but also places such as break rooms, dining areas in restaurants and even classrooms.
A test that measured the effectiveness of two fans spinning in a classroom environment contaminated with the SARS virus found that the UVC fans reduced a student’s risk of exposure during a 60-minute class from 39% to 5% would. For a teacher who spends 7 hours in the room during the day, the exposure risk decreased from 97% to 30%.
According to Big Ass Fans, Carnegie Mellon University is among the schools that have added Haiku UV-C fans to their classrooms, and the list is growing.
“From that level to smaller school districts in Kentucky and somewhere in between,” a spokesman for Big Ass fans told Tips Clear. At least some of these were bought with government funding under the CARES Act, although the company notes that customers are not required to share this information with them.
Big Ass Fans tells Tips Clear that there are no immediate plans to make a lower-cost version of the fan and that the focus is currently on businesses and public organizations looking for ways to keep people safe in common spaces. In addition to the Haiku UV-C, the new range of germicidal Clean Air System products includes large industrial fans and floor fans that are equipped with disinfecting ionizers. These were also tested for their effectiveness against COVID-19, with the results being just as promising as those of the Haiku UV-C.
“Ideally, someone would call and say,” We would like your help with the air disinfection, “a company spokesman told Tips Clear.” Then we evaluate the space requirements, the technical data and the application and determine the right technology for the implementation based on other goals. ”
Translation: Don’t expect to see a budget-friendly version of these fans anytime soon – but don’t be surprised if you see one spinning overhead on the go.