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COVID-19 Management HVAC systems

14 Oct 2020

COVID-19 Management HVAC systems

What steps can be undertaken to improve the ventilation in indoor public spaces and buildings?

How You Can Protect Your Staff and Others and Slow the Spread of COVID-19?

Is your HVAC system and maintenance aligned with recommended COVID protocols?

Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are used to maintain indoor air temperature and humidity at healthy and comfortable levels. A well-maintained and operated system can reduce the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces by increasing the rate of air change, reducing recirculation of air and increasing the use of outdoor air. Recirculation modes (which recirculate the air) should not be used. HVAC systems should be regularly inspected, maintained, and cleaned.

Ventilation is an important factor in preventing the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading indoors. Below are steps to consider which can improve indoor ventilation. These steps should be considered in consultation with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional:

1. Consider using natural ventilation, opening windows if possible and safe to do so.

2. For mechanical systems, increase the percentage of outdoor air, using economizer modes of HVAC operations and potentially as high as 100%. Before increasing outdoor air percentage, verify compatibility with HVAC system capabilities for both temperature and humidity control as well as compatibility with outdoor/indoor air quality considerations.

3. Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible.

4. Disable demand-control ventilation controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy.

5. Improve central air filtration: Increase air filtration to as high as possible without significantly diminishing design airflow.

6. Inspect filter housing and racks to ensure appropriate filter fit and check for ways to minimize filter bypass.

7. Consider running the HVAC system at maximum outside airflow for 2 hours before and after spaces are occupied, in accordance with manufactory recommendations.

8. Generate clean-to-less-clean air movements by re-evaluating the positioning of supply and exhaust air diffusers and/or dampers and adjusting zone supply and exhaust flow rates to establish measurable pressure differentials. Have staff work in “clean” ventilation zones that do not include higher-risk areas such as visitor reception or exercise facilities (if open).

9. Ensure exhaust fans in restroom facilities are functional and operating at full capacity when the building is occupied.

Are there any recommendations for offices, schools and the accommodation sector regarding ventilation and air conditioning use?

In all workplaces, schools and tourist accommodations, there should be fresh, clean air. WHO recommends an increased ventilation rate through natural or mechanical means, preferably without recirculation of the air. In case of air recirculation, filters should be cleaned regularly, especially for jobs that place an individual at a medium or high risk of exposure to COVID-19. Examples of such jobs may include frontline workers in retail, tourist accommodation and domestic workers.

Call us at +1-758-519-0522 to review your businesses and residential HVAC and filtration, airflow systems to minimize the spread of COVID through an AC system.

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