How to make a DIY air filter with a box fan for covid protectionThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
And I want to feel secure at work, where, like most reporters, I don’t have my own office. I can’t just close the door to protect colleagues’ germs. Or open the windows for fresh air.
So, as someone who likes to take control of seemingly uncontrollable situations, I decided to create my own DIY portable air purifier.
Generate cleaner indoors air at home and at work reduces everyone’s risk of getting sick from airborne pathogens like those that cause covid-19 and the flu.
While I’m pretty good at following recipes, I don’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to create things from scratch. Even with Lego when my son was little. Forget about Ikea furniture.
But I decided to give this Corsi-Rosenthal box a try because we will gather with many loved ones entering the new year.
The Corsi-Rosenthal box is named after its two inventors, who were looking for a cost-effective way to create something that performed the same functions as more expensive air purifiers. They came up with the idea in August 2020, five months into the coronavirus pandemic.
Richard Corsi, dean of UC Davis’ College of Engineering, and Jim Rosenthal, CEO of Tex-Air Filters, teamed up to create an easy-to-assemble, low-cost air cleaner using materials found at hardware stores or online. The box uses four common household air filters on the side—the kind you’d use for a home HVAC system—a 20-inch fan on top, cardboard, scissors, and tape to hold it all together.
It is important to get the right kind of filters. Filters must have a MERV-13 rating, which refers to the filter’s ability to trap particles of a certain size.
When the fan is on, air is drawn through the four sides of the case. The filters trap the contaminated particles, allowing clean air to flow into the middle of the case and be pushed back into the environment via the fan. The fan just needs to be plugged into a normal electrical outlet. Not only can the boxes reduce the spread of pathogens like the coronavirus, but they can also reduce other particles, such as those generated by wildfires, as well as dust and pollen.
The box removes all kinds of other pollutants, such as “allergens, small particles created by chemical reactions to ozone or cleaning chemicals,” said Don Milton, professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, who came up with the name on the box.
In a small office — 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet — a box can reasonably achieve a fresh air supply rate of about 300 to 400 cubic feet per minute, according to Rosenthal. In other words, with a weak fan, about a third of the air passes through the apparatus every minute, or the equivalent of all the air in that office in about three minutes. How often filters should be changed depends on usage.
Of course, if people can afford a good HEPA air purifier, go ahead and buy one, Rosenthal said. “Just make sure it’s HEPA and doesn’t have ‘extra’ features like ionizers,” he He told me.
But a good HEPA cleaner costs between $300 and $600.
The supplies to make one filter box cost me $127: $30 for the 20-inch fan, about $90 for a pack of four Merv-13 filters (20 x 20 x 1), and $7 for a large roll of duct tape. (Note to the accountant approving my expenses: I bought enough supplies for two boxes, one for practice at home, so I don’t look like an idiot building one for the first time in this Washington Post video.)
Scientists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health tested the efficacy of do-it-yourself air filtration devices, including the Corsi-Rosenthal box, in reducing exposure to respiratory aerosols and their study found that DIY units “reduce aerosol exposure by up to 73 percent, depending on design, filter thickness, and fan airflow.”
Another recent one i study from Brown University and the Silent Spring Institute, a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts that conducts breast cancer research, found that the boxes significantly reduced the concentration of indoor air pollutants. The Corsi-Rosenthal boxes were installed in 17 rooms on Brown’s campus last year to combat covid-19 and to study the boxes’ effectiveness in removing particles from the air. The researchers sampled indoor pollutant concentrations in the rooms from October to November 2021, before the boxes were in place, and from February to March 2022, when the boxes were operating.
The results showed that the cans reduced a type of synthetic chemical known as PFAS by 40 to 60 percent. The chemical is used in products including cleaning agents, textiles and wire insulation. phthalates, a group of pollutants commonly found in building materials and personal care products were reduced by 30 to 60 percent.
The boxes are so popular that people are posting photos on social media showing off their creations decorated with cat ears for Halloween, or hanging from chandeliers in fluorescent colors and even incorporating lighting as part of the scenography of a musical production.
A A 10th grade robotics enthusiast in Mississauga, Ontario, created a public step-by-step guide in English, French and Spanish and made 122 boxes for people in the Toronto area. Student Shiven Taneja won second place for an Corsi award created last year to honor people who help protect others.
School systems in the United States, Canada, and Indonesia have built them for classrooms. Several major universities, including the University of Connecticut, Arizona State University and UC San Diego and UC Davis, have also built them, according to Corsi, who received 600 entries when he asked people to submit photos of boxes they built last year .
At the University of Maryland, sophomore Ella McCloskey uses the boxes to teach students about the importance of air quality and ways to minimize the spread of disease. The university has distributed more than 100 free boxes to barbershops, funeral homes and churches in suburban Maryland.
Some students took the boxes home to their families. Others find them too big for small dorms and put them in instead student lounges where they study and socialize.
I was nervous about making this box because I am no a skilled person. The hardest part was making sure the tape didn’t stick to itself. The most time consuming aspect was cutting out the cardboard – use the box the fan came in – to make the base and the cover that goes over the top of the fan to improve efficiency. It took me about two hours because I kept checking online videos to make sure I was doing everything right.
Completing it gave me a great sense of satisfaction and comfort for upcoming gatherings. My niece who is being treated for cancer give a thumbs up emoticon when I sent a photo of the finished box. (She texted back to say that a close friend of hers also built one and brings it to my niece’s house every visit.) Other family members were puzzled when I placed the box in the dining room during Christmas Eve dinner. .
At work, the box blocks the movement of people near my desk. But the colleagues sitting next to me are grateful for the cleaner air. The hum of the fan also drowns out loud talkers.
An editor saw the box and wanted to make one for himself. Of course, I immediately offered to build it for her, huh Senior editor if she bought the supplies.
PS Making pie crusts is harder.
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