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3 Actions to Take Now for Safer HVAC Use At Home, Work and School
Waking up one morning to discover the world has plunged into a global pandemic was stressful, to be sure.
Being placed under strict quarantine orders that impacted our work and home lives was also very stressful – no doubt about it.
Yet, in some ways, our province's long and lingering process of reopening is becoming more stressful still.
We now have apps that supposedly track exposure risk. Meanwhile, as schools get ready to reopen and many of us are returning to working outside the home, the debate about whether HVAC can spread infectious droplets continues.
Should we or shouldn’t we? Is it safe or is it not safe? One thing seems clear: our current choice is between high-risk and low-risk. No-risk has temporarily been taken off the table.
We understand many of our customers are incredibly anxious about going back to work, sending your kids back to school and resuming your regularly scheduled lives.
In this post, Shipton’s Heating and Cooling will address the three key things you can do at home to lower your risk of spreading COVID-19. We will give you recommendations for your workplace and your child’s school to keep your whole family safer this fall.
Can HVAC Systems Spread Infectious Coronavirus Droplets?
Current scientific evidence has just confirmed that active viral particles can become airborne and travel and also that these lighter-weight particles are likely culprits in new COVID-19 cases.
This is scary to hear, but useful to know in order to better protect ourselves.
Action 1: Amp Up Ventilation With Fresh Outdoor Air
The “V” in HVAC stands for ventilation. Ventilation, which is sometimes also referred to as dilution, is not the same as air circulation (or “airflow”).
Airflow simply refers to the movement of air inside a space. Your HVAC system’s blower motor quite literally blows the temperature-controlled air out into your home, whether through ductless or ducted conduits.
Ventilation, in contrast, refers to the quality of the air being circulated inside your space. The air could be stale or it could be fresh. Stale air is air that is oxygen-poor because lots of people have been breathing it and no new air has been introduced.
Fresh air is air that is rich in oxygen and largely free from airborne contaminants.
For this reason, fresh air is what helps to minimize the concentration of any toxins that may be present, including VOCs, pollen, pet dander, mould or mildew spores, bacteria or infectious coronavirus droplets.
So when we are talking about making a space safer for everyone who is living or learning or working inside that space, what we are really talking about is amping up the amount of fresh air being continually introduced into that space.
If it is easier, just remember this:
More Fresh Air = Lower Risk of Toxin Exposure.
Using a heat recovery ventilation system is highly recommended as a way to make sure your indoor air is always ventilated with fresh incoming air.
Action 2: Filter and Purify Your Indoor Air
The next step is always going to involve taking a proactive role in keeping airborne solid, liquid or gaseous toxins out of your indoor air.
In other words, you don’t want to just leave the purity of the air you are breathing up to chance. You want to do as much as you can to actively remove toxins circulating in your indoor air.
Luckily, there is a lot you can do to filter and purify your air at home, work or school (or all three).
A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration system is the best method for filtering out even tiny airborne micro-particles (as well as the infectious droplets that may be hitching a ride on them).
For purifying those liquid droplets and any other airborne liquid or gaseous toxins, what you need is a short-wave ultraviolet light purification system.
Action 3: Keep Your HVAC Filters, Registers and Vents Squeaky Clean
We realize we may sound like a seriously broken record with this one, but we simply cannot emphasize this enough. Keep your HVAC filters, air registers and air vents as clean as you possibly can.
We also realize not everyone agrees with us on this point.
Some experts believe you should leave your air filters alone and let the dirt pile up just to avoid possibly coming into contact with infectious droplets.
Here is why we feel differently...
Every single time air moves through that dirty filter, there is a possibility that some of that trapped toxic matter will get dislodged and will then start to travel into your HVAC system and then out into your indoor air.
In other words, either way, you do have a risk of coming into contact with whatever is currently trapped inside your air filter.
Here again, we recommend taking a proactive approach. We’ve even written a whole blog post over on our sister site, Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, explaining the safest way to change your HVAC air filter.
Don’t wait for your dirty air filter to get so clogged that it then restricts air flow, drives up your energy bills and potentially causes a dangerous and expensive blower motor blowout or even a home or workplace fire.
Change your filter every 30 days (or more frequently during high-use months) to avoid placing extra stress on your immune system and your HVAC system.
Get in Touch With Shipton's Heating And Cooling Today
HVAC, electrical and plumbing have all been deemed essential services during the stay at home order here in Ontario province.
Do you need help retrofitting your home, school or workplace HVAC system with the latest recommended safety systems to keep your air fresh, clean and pure this fall? WE CAN HELP.
Right now, purchase any A/C, furnace or combo unit and we will donate $25 on your behalf to the Hamilton Food Share program.