SOUTHERN OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – Amid the scary things associated with the coronavirus crisis, there are the “helpers.” Few would call themselves heroes. And yet -their existence serves to renew faith in humanity. Take, for example, a local business that’s designed a decontamination chamber.

William Fei and Walter Weidmont own Comfort Zone Home Services, Plumbing and Cooling in Manahawkin. Simply put, their website describes them as a complete HVAC service and installation company. However, it isn’t just the fact that they facilitate both residential and commercial customers that makes them unique. It’s that they’ve taken their skills to a different level.

Like many people, Fei has followed media reports concerning the availability of PPEs to healthcare workers. With the seemingly scarce supply of N95 masks, the HVAC expert recognized a need. He couldn’t help but wonder about the efficiency of decontaminating the masks for repetitive use.

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“We have healthcare workers out there who need protection,” shared Fei. “It occurred to me that the materials in our industry could prove useful.”

Fei prides himself on someone who generally “thinks outside the box.” In this case, it turns out that his innovation actually falls into a box of its own. Comfort Zone’s decontamination chamber is approximately four feet by three feet.  It’s designed to sanitize about twenty masks in about 15-20 minutes.

“The chamber uses two UV lights, the same ones that are used in air purifiers,” Fei explained. “If you read the guidelines as to what the lights do, it pretty much fits into the wheelhouse of decontaminating products.”

According to Fei, the lights generate hydro peroxide gas, and there are fans inside the box to circulate it. Sheet metal used in building ductwork, as well as threaded rod hangers are all part of the design.

Comfort Zone wants to ensure its concept is safe and plans on having tested before it supplies to anyone else. 

“Ultimately, we want to donate the boxes to hospitals and medical facilities,” Fei said. However, we just want to make sure they are safe first.”

In the meantime, Fei has collaborated with Barnegat resident Gary Reitmann on printing 3D N95 masks. Look for a future article highlighting that project.