The pandemic has raised many questions regarding the transmission of viruses and how people can best protect themselves. While social distancing and wearing masks have been shown to help decrease the spread of COVID-19, these measures are really only one piece of the puzzle. This leaves many people wondering how this virus moves within their home or business and what can be done to mitigate the risk of infection.

In this piece, we’ll explore how your HVAC system relates to the spread of COVID-19 and how you can help limit this possibility.

Can Covid-19 Spread through the Air?
While scientists are constantly learning more about COVID-19, it’s well-established that the virus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets containing coronavirus particles. [1]
This typically happens through actions—such as talking, sneezing, and coughing—that cause these droplets to be expelled from an infected individual. [2] Depending on the size, these droplets can stay in the air from anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours. [3]

One study found that COVID-19 could can remain in the air for around three hours. However, it was estimated that the virus would only remain suspended for around 30 minutes in most cases. [4]
It’s still debated whether the new coronavirus is technically airborne or not, but there’s certainly something to be said about its ability to remain in the air within droplets.

Do HVAC Systems Spread COVID-19?
HVAC systems haven’t been proven to spread COVID-19. As with many things related to this virus, research is still being conducted in this area. Scientists are confident that it’s more difficult to catch the virus in an area with proper air circulation since infectious particles have the chance of being diluted or scattered by air currents. While outdoor air currents are ideal, HVAC units also produce effective air circulation to help prevent air from sitting for too long indoors. [5] In fact, the CDC recommends businesses ensure their ventilation systems are up to date and functioning properly before returning to work in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. [6] Despite the questions that have yet to be answered, there are still some changes you can make to your HVAC system that might have the potential to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. These efforts are aimed at improving ventilation, purifying air, and enhancing airflows.

Schedule Routine Inspections
It might seem trivial, but regular inspections and an annual HVAC tune-up can ensure your system is running optimally. This means better air circulation, improved filtration, and healthier air overall. A professional HVAC company will have an easier time identifying problem areas in your system that you might have overlooked or not even considered. Generally, it’s advisable to have your HVAC system checked out at least twice a year. However, it’s always a good idea to order an inspection when the quality of your indoor air is paramount to health, as it is right now.

Boost Circulation of Outdoor Air
Another strategy that might help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through an HVAC system is boosting the circulation of outdoor air and improving airflow in your home or business. [7] Ducted HVAC systems with a higher rate of exchange with clean, fresh, and uncontaminated air from outside can help limit recirculation. If any infectious particles were being pumped through the HVAC system, this circulation of outside air might help to disperse them. Opening windows, doors, and other sources of ventilation is an easy adjustment and also effective in improving air circulation.

Update Older Systems
If your home or area of business has an outdated system, it might be the perfect time to replace older parts. Incorporating variable-speed fans in place of older fixed-speed models can help give you more control over airflow while boosting the system’s flexibility. An airflow control system, like ones designed to increase pressure sensitivity, can make it easier and smoother to adjust airflows. Installing high-quality air-purification capabilities, like a new filter or UV technology for HVAC, is also an important consideration.

Allow for Continuous Circulation
Instead of having your HVAC system shut off when you’re out, during the night, or on weekends, you can have it run with no interruptions in your place of business. This constant circulation maximizes the benefits that come with the replacement of air while limiting the downsides that come with stagnant air. The constant operation is an extra cost, but a variable-speed fan gives you flexibility in terms of output and energy consumption.

Combat the Spread of COVID-19 with Proper Air Circulation
HVAC systems are crucial for ensuring your home or place of business has proper air circulation.
Without these units or with malfunctioning systems, the air has no chance of movement and remains stagnant.

Since COVID-19 is often spread through respiratory droplets in the air, it’s important to maintain proper air circulation when indoors—something HVAC systems are designed to do. If you’re interested in making some adjustments to your HVAC system in response to the coronavirus, feel free to contact us for an appointment. The Boston Standard Company team is dedicated to ensuring your HVAC system is running smoothly and properly. Learn more about AC maintenance and heating maintenance services from Boston Standard Company.

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