Today we’re going to apply our expert understanding of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) to one of the world’s biggest current issues — COVID-19 …
Current advice from Public Health England says that the spread of COVID-19 is down to ‘respiratory droplets generated by coughing and sneezing’ and through ‘contact with contaminated surfaces’. These ‘droplets’ can be large or smaller than we can see.
With this in mind, how do HVAC systems play a role?
As droplets travel through airstreams (hence the 1.5m distancing rule), then it follows logically that if a room has less ventilation, it will have a higher concentration of droplets.
The length droplets survive depends on temperature, humidity, and surface material. Eventually, they evaporate into the gas phase.
Droplets are not the only worry: there is evidence to suggest that even in minute aerosol form, COVID-19 particles remain active for 3 hours. So, we want to make sure that rooms and spaces do not become stagnant.
And how can we do this with HVAC systems?
By modifying our HVAC provision, we may be able to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through improved ventilation, airflow, and purification.
What does this mean for COVID-19?
It means that poorly ventilated areas may be worse for the spread of COVID-19. The science confirms that transmission of Coronavirus increases in poorly ventilated space.
Companies and people should, therefore, review their HVAC provision. By diluting internal air, we can reduce the chance of potential airborne viral transmission.
Better HVAC provision and settings mean less exposure time to airborne aerosols and reduced chance for them to settle on surfaces.
We want to ensure a slow and steady air speed, to ventilate potentially contaminated air away from people in closed spaces.
Many people are now ensuring that their HVAC systems run fresh air rather than recirculating air. This is a great idea, even if it can make it more difficult for units to maintain and reach temperatures. It is also recommended to keep ventilation running constantly, even if at a lower level when space isn’t being used. Recirculation of air in closed spaces should be avoided.
What does this mean for me?
Are you are responsible for the provision of HVAC in a commercial or industrial space — especially high occupancy spaces where there is little outdoor air? Or can you suggest the idea to the person who is? If so, then we suggest you review your HCAV systems and provision.
This is even more true for spaces that generate a lot of aerosols through activities such as shouting, singing or exercise.
You should check to ensure that your spaces are adequately ventilated. It may also be appropriate to consider air cleaning and disinfection devices — like HEPA filtration — if you don’t currently have one.
It’s in all our interests to reduce the risks from the airborne transmission of COVID-19. Social distancing, PPE and hand washing are still key — but have you thought about your HVAC systems?
If you need help, look no further. Here at Elite Contracting Ltd, we cater to all forms of HVAC service and installation. We use market-leading brands and have an exceptional team of skilled engineers. We can design, install, and service exactly what you need.
We’re available 24/7 in the case of emergency, with a dedicated hotline.
Contact us here, on 01908 849979 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for tailored help about quality air management and HVAC systems.