In the beginning, it was thought that COVID-19 could only be transferred by touching high-touch surfaces and then touching parts of your face. It was only a few months ago that doctors realized it can also be transmitted via infectious airborne particles (like the flu and common colds). A home’s heating and ventilation system, consequently, can spread the coronavirus throughout the home or building. As people gather indoors during summer and winter to escape uncomfortable temps, proper ventilation is necessary to protect against COVID-19.
The World Health Organization confirms that aerosol transmissions are a way for the coronavirus to spread. An individual may inhale infectious respiratory droplets when people nearby (within six feet) speak, laugh, cough, or sneeze. Introducing the coronavirus into the respiratory system causes illness.
Furthermore, when infectious respiratory droplets have been emitted through a sick person’s laugh, cough, or sneeze, it can linger in the air for three hours. Consequently, an individual who inhales these airborne droplets can contract COVID-19 and become either mildly or severely ill.
With winter approaching, people will spend time indoors, making ventilation key to health. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, ventilation systems were used to protect people from harmful components in the air. Since the beginnings of the current health crisis, proper ventilation is even more crucial.
A functional ventilation system lowers the concentrations of pollutants, viruses, and other contaminants in indoor air by increasing the amount of outdoor air entering the indoors. The amount of outdoor air circulating indoors should be proportionate to the number of people gathering indoors.
When more people are in an indoor environment, for instance, greater ventilation with outdoor air is needed. In fact, the EPA recommends that the ventilation rate should correspond with the number of people that inhabit an indoor space (plus other important factors).
Due to the fact that it is harder to keep people farther apart indoors in comparison to the outdoors, remaining indoors is definitely more risky. Plus, indoor spaces have less ventilation. When occupancy is high, the CDC suggests increased ventilation is necessary to reduce the risk from airborne transmissions.
Plenty of practical options are available to homeowners to increase ventilation indoors. When weather permits, homeowners may open a window. Even in colder temperatures, experts recommend micro-ventilation, where a window is kept slightly open to allow in fresh outdoor air.
Homeowners should also run the ceiling fan in winter mode when employing micro-ventilation. As the fan’s blades circle in a reversed direction, cold air is pulled up; and warm air is pushed downwards. This technique helps to keep the room warm when outdoor air is chilly.
However, homeowners should take all safety precautions when opening a window, especially if doing so will be a safety risk to young children (such as falling) or sick individuals (opening a window could trigger asthma symptoms in vulnerable people).
A home’s kitchen and bathroom fans are designed to expel indoor air outside through the vents. This increasing the outdoor air ventilation rate. These fans operate by exhausting indoor air that is potentially contaminated with viruses from the room in which the fan is located.
The home’s HVAC system is also useful for increasing ventilation. In order to control the highly contagious coronavirus, a home’s ventilation system must be well-maintained and functional. Utilize the right air filters, as the wrong type of filter can force the furnace to work harder, leading to a breakdown.
Experts recommend the MERV-12 level filter, which provides effective filtration while being compatible with existing equipment. The MERV filter removes particles 0.3 to 10 microns. However, be aware that high-rate filters permit less airflow. Achieve optimal airflow by checking the system’s maximum MERV rating.
While a HEPA air filter removes 99.7 percent of small particles that are 0.3 microns, there is little guarantee that a HEPA filter will stop the coronavirus. This is, unfortunately, due to the fact that the coronavirus particle is approximately 0.1 microns.
Rather than rely solely on the HVAC system to increase ventilation and protect a home’s occupants from the coronavirus, homeowners are encouraged to simultaneously use air purifiers.
Air purifiers work by capturing bacteria and viruses in the air, which, when combined with other safe practices recommended by the CDC, help to reduce the rate of disease transmissions. The tightly woven fibers of an air purifier’s filters remove particles from the air. The right type of air purifier will make a sizeable difference when trying to protect occupants from coronaviruses.
An air cleaner that uses a HEPA filter is most effective since it removes over 99.97 percent of particles or all sizes. Consider the power of the air filter—a big room inhabited by a large number of people will require that more air be cleaned.
HEPA air purifiers are small, portable, and inexpensive—which allows multiple units to be placed in a room to clean the air. Look for an air cleaner with a verified seal of certification from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (since some air purifier manufacturers make false claims).
Proper ventilation can certainly help to limit the spread of COVID-19. Experts agree that high air quality can help prevent COVID-19 transmissions indoors. However, increased ventilation in homes must be combined with other health safety practices recommended by the CDC.
When you are concerned about indoor air quality, consult ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration. We provide professional air duct cleaning services for homes with indoor air pollution. Cleaning the ducts minimizes the health issues that originate from poor indoor air quality.
ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration also offers professional cleaning and disinfection services that eliminate SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) and other viruses from commercial properties. We neutralize infectious airborne particles using advanced disinfection equipment, then clean and disinfect all high touch points.
Once airborne viral particles are neutralized and surfaces are cleaned, our skilled crews fog the area with a broad-spectrum biocide to ensure all viruses are killed. When your workplace has been exposed to the coronavirus, ServiceMaster technicians arrive immediately after your call.
ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration offers prompt and thorough coronavirus cleaning and disinfection services that follow the guidelines established by the CDC and WHO. We are proud to protect residential homes and commercial businesses from the threat of COVID-19 in Quincy, IL and the surrounding areas in west central Illinois and northeast Missouri.