As 2021 continues to unfold, the news stays exactly the same. COVID cases are on the rise. The national news media is now calling this our “third COVID wave.”
So far, this is not the 2021 we were all hoping for.
However, there is a bright spot we can focus on.
We know so much more now about how to protect ourselves as we wait to be vaccinated. One of the most important discoveries has been the role HVAC can play in either spreading or limiting infectious droplets.
Are you looking for an effective way to help limit the risk of COVID-19 spreading within your home? At Shipton’s Heating and Cooling in Hamilton, Ontario, we are dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to stay healthy this spring.
In this article, we share the four keys to making sure your HVAC system is doing its part to protect you from catching or spreading COVID within your home.
What Is a COVID Friendly HVAC?
You may recall way back in early 2020 when news of the pandemic was just beginning to filter out across the world.
Initially, researchers believed the new novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was primarily spread by close contact. They thought the droplets were too heavy to travel farther than two meters (six feet).
Now we know much better.
For example, we know that both evaporation and ventilation make it possible for infectious droplets to travel much greater distances. They can be carried through duct systems and pass into common areas like workplace break rooms, restrooms and elevators.
A COVID friendly HVAC system is one that is equipped to minimize risk of such a spread.
This is also why it is particularly important to have your HVAC system checked and serviced if you live or work in a multi-unit space where the risk of airborne transmission is elevated.
Canada Public Health* has issued a series of recommendations to ensure your HVAC system is equipped to minimize transmission risk.
1. Is Your HVAC System Suitable for How You Use It?
If you have inherited your current HVAC system along with the space, you may honestly have no idea if it is properly sized and rated for these four attributes:
- Number of people present inside the space at one time.
- Size of the space (including number of rooms and size of each room).
- What types of activities take place inside the space.
- How long the space is occupied on a daily basis.
Sizing your HVAC system can get complicated quickly even before you add in the four attributes you just learned about.
Everything from local climate to type of insulation can impact whether your appliances are up to the task of cooling and warming you safely and efficiently.
2. Is Your HVAC System Operating Correctly?
Inheriting an HVAC system often means you have no idea when the system was last serviced, if ever.
Every year, preventative ac and furnace maintenance is an unsung hero in preventing home fires and untimely system outages as well as chronic health issues.
This year, preventative ac and furnace maintenance can also impact whether a properly sized and rated unit is keeping your air sufficiently clean to guard against COVID.
3. Is Your HVAC System Maximizing Clean Air Exchange?
Speaking of clean air, remember those four attributes we mentioned in the first point here?
The size of the space, the number of occupants, the type of activity and the length of occupancy are all important as measures of how quickly toxic or infectious particles build up inside the space.
What counters indoor air toxicity is air changes per hour, or ACH for short.
In COVID patient hospital wings, the goal is six complete ACH cycles per hour.
Like HVAC system sizing, calculating air changes per hour is not as simple as it sounds. But it is the only way to make sure your HVAC is pulling in sufficient fresh, clean air to keep you healthy and safe.
4. Is Your HVAC System Using a Clean and Appropriate Air Filter?
Air filters! Finally, something nearly all of us recognize! Yet changing your HVAC air filter is pretty easy to forget about, isn’t it?
It happens to the best of us.
Another common issue is not using the highest MERV-rated filter for your HVAC system capacity. The higher the MERV filter rating, the better job it does filtering out toxins.
You want to be sure you are using an appropriate air filter and changing it at least every 30 days.
Keep in mind that most residential and even many workplace HVAC appliances are not rated for HEPA-grade air filters.
You don’t want to try to pair a HEPA filter with a lower-grade HVAC. The only thing you will get for your troubles is exorbitant energy bills, low airflow and the risk of fire from blower motors overheating.
But there is a very workable alternative. You can install a standalone portable or central HEPA filtration system that can work with your existing HVAC system to filter out even airborne COVID-19 droplets.
Contact Shipton’s Heating and Cooling to Schedule Your HVAC Evaluation and Maintenance Service
Our experienced, friendly service technicians can evaluate your existing HVAC appliances relative to the four key safety factors you just learned about.
This can be done during your regular annual preventative ac and furnace maintenance service or as a standalone service.
And if you discover your units are not sized correctly for your needs, you definitely want to know now! Why? Because right now, when you buy a furnace, we will give you a brand new 14-SEER air conditioner for FREE.
Click here to reserve your free air conditioner while supplies last!
Offer is good through March 31, 2021!
Contact Shipton’s for All Your Hamilton, Ontario HVAC Needs
Here at Shipton’s, we have nearly a century of experience installing, maintaining, servicing and repairing all makes and models of HVAC systems. And now we offer contactless options for all of our popular services, including payment and invoicing.
Just give our friendly HVAC technicians a call at 1-905-549-4616 or visit us online.
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* Canada public health guidance on indoor ventilation during the pandemic