Clean Air System – COVID-19 Protection

Sand and Steel Clean Air System

One of the most important reason people join a gym is so that they can be healthy for their husband or wife.  So they can be strong to help support their parents.  And so they can be alive and healthy to support their children. 

You should know exactly how your gym is protecting you.  Here is the Sand and Steel 6 Step COVID-19 Protection Plan.

COVID-19 Clean Air System

Big Ass Fans - Clean Air System

Big Ass Fans Clean Air System

Ionization Technology How it Works

Bi-Polar Ionization Technology utilizes specialized tubes that take oxygen molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that cluster around microparticles, surrounding and deactivating harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses such COVID-19.  [1. Cision Press Release] [2. ASHRAE White Paper]. The ions produce a chemical reaction on the cell membrane surface that inactivates viruses. Lab studies show reduction of 99.7% of COVID-19 particles in minutes.

The Bio-Polar Ions attach to expelled breath droplets and dust particles that can transport viruses, enlarging them so they’re more easily caught in filters. [3. Business Insider]. Good thing we also installed our HEPA Filtering Opticlean Air Handler that scoops out all of the virus particles.

Big Ass Fans Clean Air System

We chose Big Ass Fans because of their partnership with Plasma Air (a recognized leader in Ionization Technology) and because of their robust testing of their equipment through Innovative Bioanalysis.

Used In Leading Hospitals and Airports

Johns Hopkins, Children’s Hospital Boston and the University of Maryland Medical Center use Bio Polar Ionization technology to clean their air.  Major airports like  LaGuardia, O’Hare, LAX, and San Francisco International Airport already use Bio Polar Ionization Technology to keep their clients safe.​

Carrier Opticlean System

HEPA Filtration

HEPA filtration uses a very fine filter that is capable of filtering out extremely small particles such as viruses.  Building a system to create HEPA filtration in a gym is no easy task.

Since HEPA filters can filter out pretty everything in the air, anything and everything gets trapped in the filter. This clogs the filter very quickly. Replacing a HEPA filter every 3 months is cost prohibitive. So Carrier built their Opticlean to utilize a two pass filter. A 2-inch M8 Filter to filter out the large PM2.5 size materials, and a HEPA grade filter to remove anything that passes through the Merv-8 Filter.

You can buy a standalone HEPA filter cheap enough. But if you think you can simply attach it to a box fan and get a HEPA filtration system, you are sadly mistaken. HEPA filters cause a massive pressure drop. Unless you have a custom-designed housing for the HEPA filter, air is just going to leak around the filter rather than passing through it.

As mentioned above, a HEPA filter creates a massive air-drop between the fan and the filter. This adds torque against the fan, and it rapidly wear out your fan. Carrier’s Opticlean uses a specially-designed fan that was engineered to handle this pressure drop.

Our gym has 80,000 cubic feet of air. A little home grade unit, like this one from MedifyAir cleans 330 square feet of air every 30 minutes. That’s about 2 Cubic Foot per minute. In our gym, it would take a Medify Air System about a month to clean the air (more precisely 27 days.)

Medify Air Home Hepa Filtration System
Medify Air Home Hepa Filtration System

And nothing against Medify Air, they are great unit for a personal apartment. But for a big gym? It ain’t going work. We went with Carrier’s Flag ship model that 1500 Cubic Feet of Air per minute. That allows us to cycle the all the air in the gym in under an hour.

Carrier’s Opticlean System solves these problems.  It doesn’t work in just theory, it works in real life in our gym with real people.  Here is a screenshot of our Air Quality sensors with the Carrier System Running

Stellate Air Quality Sensor
Carrier Opticlean COVID-19
Opticlean Clean Hepa Filtration System
Carrier OptiClean-Infographic-v4
Carrier OptiClean Infographic

100% Face Mask Policy

Face Masks in the Gym:

Of all the policies and procedures we have put in the place, the $2.00 Surgical Face masks we have are some of the best protection you can get.  It protects you from other people, and wearing a mask protects you from other people.  Read about our Face Mask Policy below

100% Face Mask Policy V3

Face Mask Policy: Face masks are required 100% of the time unless you are rehydrating, eating, or unlocking your phone. Yes, the mask has to cover your mouth and your nose. If you have trouble breathing, slow down or step outside.

Face Mask Timing: You must put on your face mask before you step inside gym.  You have to keep it one until you have completely exited in the gym.  What you do in the parking lot and in your car is up to you.

Face Masks are for Everyone’s Health:  Yes, you have to wear a mask even if it’s just you in the gym. You have to wear a mask whether you voted for Trump or Biden.  Face masks aren’t just about your health — it’s about protecting everyone else from you. A person coming to the gym after you may have a special condition. And if you don’t wear a mask, you expose that person to enhanced risk of infection. 

COVID-19 Testing. Even if you get tested, there is a 3-day wait on the results. Plus the test itself is only accurate 7 days after initial exposure. Let’s face the facts — you can’t know whether you are an asymptomatic spreader or not.  And you can’t know at every instant in time whether you have COVID-19 or not.

COVID-19 Truth: It’s a fact, you can have COVID-19, zero symptoms, and still infect other people. At other Virginia gyms, wearing a face mask is a personal choice. Some people wear them, and some people don’t. We decided as a community that every member is going to wear a mask. And if we are going to stay healthy as a gym, everyone has to follow this Face Mask Policy — no exceptions.

Air Quality Sensors

Accountability, Reliability, and Transparency

I am a biomedical engineer.  And if I learned anything from my 4 years at Johns Hopkins, it’s that you have measure results the results of your experiments.  Does a HEPA vacuum bag matter?  Does increasing air circulation makes the air quality or worse?  

Theory is great, but with COVID-19, we cannot afford to be wrong.  We cannot to rely assumptions that the air should be safer.  That’s why we have air quality sensors throughout the gym

Controlled Access

All sessions (personal training, fitness classes, and open gym) are booked in advance through our website or app.  Through our reservation system, you are assured that you’ll have sufficient distance to maintain your social distancing safety throughout your workout.

To prevent overcrowding, we require members to book open gym and fitness classes in advance.

  • Open Gym: 8 People or 1 person every 500 square feet.
  • Fitness Classes: we maintain a social distancing of 10 Feet.

Online Fitness Classes

Online Fitness Classes Virtual At Home

Over 65 Online Fitness Classes per week in crystal clear audio and 4K high definition video. 22 Unique Virtual Classes you can do at home. Our featured online fitness classes: FireFlow, Beyond Stretch, Butts and Guts, and CoreFit TRX can be attended virtually or in-person. We also have in-person-only classes: Strong, CrossFit, Beginner CrossFit, and Recovery Clinic.

Beyond Stretch, FireFlow, CoreFit, and Butts & Guts are coached live at Sand and Steel Fitness.  You can join us in the gym and work with your favorite coaches.  Or hop on Zoom and join the class online.

Our Membership Cares About Safety

Our members know that we take their health very seriously.  We haven’t had one reported case of COVID-19 — and we want to keep it that way.  We enforce our cleaning and our face mask policies.  We build our programming with social distancing in mind.  We buy equipment that fosters social distancing. 

We recruit new members who put their safety and other people’s safety as a priority. If you are a new member and you are reading this… know that Sand and Steel is one of the safest places you can be.  But also know that we expect you to hold up your end of the deal and follow our policies so that everyone is safe.  When we work as a team and a community, we can stay safe and enjoy our amazing gym.

COVID-19 Research

COVID-19 Has Been Our Priority from Day 1

Any gym can buy expensive machines and write a COVID-19 Safety Plan.  But do they really put health concerns first?  We’ve written 16 articles on COVID-19 safety (some of them more than 3000 words.)  We will continue to research this topic and implement additional safety procedures as the science improves.

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