How Electrostatic Sprayers Work?

With the COVID pandemic prioritizing sterilizing gathering spaces, businesses and companies are seeking the best disinfection solutions.

Cleaning and disinfecting are essential for public spaces and in the workplace. If you are looking for new ways to clean your facility, you might have considered an electrostatic sprayer. These devices help maintenance staff easily apply disinfectants to entire areas to sanitize surfaces. Read about sprayers, how they work, and their effectiveness in viral mitigation.

What Is An Electrostatic Sprayer?

This device, also known as an electrostatic precipitation sprayer, electrostatic fogger, or electrostatic disinfectant sprayer, produces electrostatic precipitation (ESP) by the plate-and-bar method. 

In essence, these devices behave very similarly to ionizers and ozone generators. They use electricity (electrostatic energy) to ionize air flow with a disinfectant spray, encouraging molecules to latch onto particulate matter (PM). As a result, the ionized PM is attracted to a surface where it can be cleaned. 

One of the downsides of the ESP is that you usually have to scrub the bars on the machine and the surfaces to clean off the particulates. However, they run more efficiently than other products and tend to harbor fewer breeding areas for bacteria.

Another disadvantage is ESP requires the emission of ozone and Nitrogen Oxide to work. In high enough concentrations, ozone is harmful to the respiratory systemNitrogen Oxide is another air pollutant and contributes to smog and acid rain, harming the atmospheric ozone layer. 

How Does An Electrostatic Sprayer Or Fogger Work?

These sprayers combine ambient air and a chemical solution as it passes through an electrostatic field to provide the electrostatic energy to the disinfectant. This electrostatic field is created by a system consisting of three rows of thin vertical wires and a stack of large, flat metal plates lined up vertically. These plates are often paced out between 1 to 18 cm (approximately .4 to 7 inches) apart.

In electrostatic sprayers, a large amount of voltage is applied between the wires and plates to ionize the aerosol disinfectant as it passes through. The ionized particles create an electrostatic force that is driven to particulate matter (PM) in the air. The charged particles are attracted to surfaces because the electrostatic forces are greater than gravity.

Hand-Held Disinfectant Fogger.
Hand-Held Disinfectant Fogger

What Does A Fogger Clean & Disinfect?

When tested against bacteria, ESP and Fogger systems are highly effective and produce less waste than a traditional decontamination sprayer. Electrostatic Sprayers are also proven to mitigate different strains of bacterias and viruses such as Influenza, MRSA, HIV, and COVID. 

ESP primarily attracts dirt, dust, and germs in the air, but these pollutants must be wet to stick to surfaces, then cleaned up later. The technology helps clean spaces where air contamination is hard to control, like clean rooms, healthcare facilities, schools, and research labs. In addition, the devices can be handheld or in a backpack for highly targeted and portable cleaning. 

Can I Use an Electrostatic Air Purifier for COVID?

Electrostatic sprayers have been used in many industries for the past few years to remove pathogens and clean the air. Use increased substantially with the onset of the COVID pandemic. They are effective at reducing harmful virus particulates from the air and moving them onto cleanable surfaces. 

The Environmental Protection Agency reviewed electrostatic sprayers, demonstrating their efficacy against COVID for surface areas as a disinfectant. Although less disinfectant is required with ESP, the efficiency may be reduced if the surface is not wet long enough.  

Industrial Electrostatic Sprayer Used In Commercial Facilities.
Industrial Electrostatic Sprayer Used In Commercial Facilities

What Is the Optimal Method For Reducing COVID Particles?

Suppose you are a Facility Manager and are looking for cleaning, sanitization, or disinfection solutions to reduce the threat of COVID. In that case, you should consider an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer, especially since it is effective on surface areas that are notoriously hard to clean. 

However, as a supporting method of viral mitigation, a True HEPA portable air purifier system can capture some of the most penetrating particle sizes (MPPS). These portable air cleaners are scalable and complement existing COVID-19 protocols in reducing airborne viral transmission and increase air exchanges. Unlike ESP and Foggers, air purifiers capture and reduce other harmful airborne contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and allergens.

With that said, we recommend implementing additional options alongside an electrostatic sprayer and portable air purifier system:

  1. Implementing a higher rater MERV or MERV 13 filter into an existing HVAC system. According to new ASHRAE, CDC, and OSHA guidelines, MERV 13 filters are recommended to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and reduce building occupant exposure to COVID-19.
  2. Implementing an HVAC Induct Air Purifier system. Induct Air Purifier systems come in numerous forms, from Hydroxyl Generators to Needlepoint Bi-Polar Ionization (NPBI) systems. Safe to use and UL Certified Induct systems are recommended to help reduce airborne pathogens and improve the performance of existing HVAC systems.
  3. Implementing a UV-C Disinfection Robot into building disinfecting procedures. UV-C Robots provide the highest level of disinfecting to any facility through high-power 254 mm wave UV-C lights. These autonomous UV Robots offer high-tech LIDAR room mapping, tablet control, and advanced safety features for simple operation and use.

What Is The Best Air-Cleaning Option For Businesses?

The bottom line is that there are several air cleaning options for businesses and companies of all sizes. When considering air disinfection solutions, you should think about the following factors to determine the best system for your needs:

  • The size of the space (including square footage and cubic feet).
  • The surfaces in the space.
  • The current HVAC specifications.
  • How much your HVAC system can be improved.
  • The personnel available to manage an electrostatic air purifier and wipe down surfaces.
  • The level of risk in your facility.
  • Your industry.
  • The number of people who will be in your facility.
  • The amount of fresh air that can be introduced into your building.

For more extensive facilities with a higher rate of contaminants entering the space, the HVAC system will need at least a MERV 13 filter. You will also need several large room air purifiers with multiple stages of filtration, like those offered by Sanalife. In addition, implementing electrostatic sprayers may be beneficial with enough facility personnel to clean spaces effectively.

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