Noisy Purifiers Hinder IAQ in Classrooms

Contributed by BSM Staff

CHARLOTTE, NC -- A new national survey of K-12 teachers, commissioned by Global Plasma Solutions, shows that more than two-thirds are turning down or turning off portable, in-room, HEPA air purifiers as a result of the noise they can generate in classrooms.

Turning the portable units down or off reduces or eliminates the impact they can have on airborne pathogens and particles, potentially impacting more than 35 million students across the U.S.

Key findings from the survey of 750 public and private school educators underscore the importance of comprehensive air quality solutions – from increased ventilation to emerging filtration technologies – and the importance of using a range of modalities tailored to the unique needs of each local school district.

Specifically, teachers report the following:

  • Two-thirds (67%) of K-12 educators report being concerned about the air quality in their classrooms. Fewer than one-in-four teachers (23%) are extremely confident that the air in their classrooms is clean and safe.
  • Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) of K-12 teachers in the survey turn off or turn down their in-room portable HEPA filters due to the noise they produce.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of teachers often have the portable HEPA filters in their classrooms set to a level below "High" (including off) – most air cleaning systems are designed and tested with the expectation that portable air filters will run at maximum power.
  • Four-in-ten (40%) of teachers surveyed say that the noise levels from in-room air filters makes it harder for them to teach or harder for their students to learn. Three-in-ten (31%) report that students ask for in-room filters to be turned off or down either daily or weekly.

"Indoor air quality is complicated, especially in high traffic buildings like schools. Complex issues demand comprehensive solutions that work hand-in-glove with one another as part of a multi-layered approach to safely deliver cleaner air," said Glenn Brinckman, CEO of Global Plasma Solutions. "Portable indoor HEPA air purifiers can be part of the equation. But like any standalone technology, they are not silver bullets for solving indoor air quality. It is critical that school systems look carefully at how their systems work in real world settings and in different kinds of school conditions to ensure that they are truly delivering the air quality results needed for their students and teachers."

More than 60 million students and teachers are in classrooms each day throughout the school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Educational Statistics, Digest of Educational Statistics ( Many schools, particularly older ones with aging HVAC systems, have invested in portable in-room HEPA filters among other air cleaning technologies.

The survey was conducted by Group SJR on behalf of GPS. 750 teachers from both public and private schools in 47 states who have portable HEPA filters in their classrooms participated in the online survey between September 10-30, 2021.  This included elementary (294), middle (188) and high school (268) teachers.