Ventilation in the Age of COVID

Ventilation has become a huge topic of conversation in the age of COVID-19. Whether the focus is on restoring patients to health, ensuring employee and customer safety, or keeping students protected from infection, ventilation and safe air quality in buildings, or the lack thereof, has become a crucial concern. Quality airflow and ventilation are vital to increase safety measures and prevent the spread of infection.

Effective ventilation can minimize the spread of COVID-19, as well as other airborne viruses and contaminants. SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic is spread by larger droplets as well as smaller aerosols. The smaller aerosols are light, which means they remain suspended in the air longer, particularly in areas with poor ventilation. Improving ventilation can disperse the viral aerosols and reduce the chance for transmission of the virus as well as exposure to other contaminants in the air. This means ventilation systems must be maintained, working optimally, with high-efficiency filters in place, thus minimizing the risk for transmission. Let’s explore how to improve airflow and ventilation in offices, schools, and other facilities.

Airflow and Ventilation

In your business, organization, or facility, the first step is to research the airflow on site as airflow is essential if you hope to ensure the health and safety of employees, as well as customers. Your airflow should direct clean air toward less clean air, as well as allowing fresh air from outside in through open windows, doors, or other methods. Of course, issues arise if you allow too much outside air in, forcing your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) to work harder and increase costs. If outside air isn’t an option, you’ll want to implement another ventilation method, using ducts or fans to direct fresh air in, while removing less clean air from areas like restrooms and kitchens.

Air conditioning units can be programmed to pull fresh air inside rather than recirculating potentially contaminated indoor air. In addition, air conditioning can also be adjusted to increase air exchange, reducing the time needed to replace indoor air with outside air. The direction of airflow is also significant, making it crucial to ensure air conditioning air flow is adequate, particularly in medical facilities, senior-care homes, and quarantine spaces.

High-Quality Air Filters

With viral contaminants, premium quality air filters remove particles and improve air quality. Every HVAC system was designed with a specified airflow for optimal efficiency. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) can measure the efficiency of your system’s air filters. The MERV value shows the effectiveness of air filtrations based on the number of particles of different sizes captured by the filter in place. If the MERV rating is high, more particles are being removed, thus the filter has higher air filtration properties and is more capable of slowing the spread of contaminants. The MERV measurement can help your system deliver the best balance of quality airflow and energy efficiency for your building.

Considering Surface Contaminants

While quality airflow and ventilation, as well as premium air filters, contribute to a healthy indoor environment, surfaces are also a concern which needs to be addressed. Surfaces should be cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized regularly to ensure the needed levels of safety. Along with social distancing measures, face coverings, and frequent hand washing/sanitizing; cleaning products should be available for frequent surface cleaning as needed.

Are Upgrades Needed?

In some properties, additional equipment or upgrades to existing equipment is needed to enhance workplace conditions and protect employees, customers, and all who enter. Ventilation and airflow is key to preventing the transmission of COVID, as well as other viruses, allergens, and contaminants. The team at Cooling Power Corp can help assess your facility, and provide additional air filtration and ventilation equipment as needed. Call today!