Navigating COVID-19 and Understanding the Important Role of Year-Round HVAC Preventative Maintenance

It’s no secret that air quality plays a significant role in the health of property managers and their tenants. That’s why it’s important to anticipate any potential service needs or repairs and address preventative maintenance throughout the year to ensure source control when dealing with concerns such as mold, dust, odor and even viruses.

 With the rampant spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and with retailers, businesses and industrial spaces beginning to reopen to a new “normal,” it is crucial to take necessary steps in reducing the spread, which is primarily transmitted through droplets when people cough or sneeze but can also linger on surfaces and in the air.

According to recent findings from ASHRAE, “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”

During these uncertain times, you may be wondering how your business can take additive preventative measures in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. From air filtration to ventilation to evaporator coil cleaning, Air Control Systems is here to help you manage and optimize your HVAC system with solutions for diluting airborne contaminants in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Our team of experts is here to help you and your business with the following HVAC solutions:

Air Purifiers/Ion Generators
Air purifiers have been proven through independent lab testing to kill pathogens in the breathing zone and on hard, non-porous surfaces. Air Purifiers have also proven to significantly reduce a wide variety of pathogens, such as MRSA, C. DIFF, TB and Legionella, among others. Ion generators can purify indoor air by producing negative ions which will neutralize viruses, bacteria and mold. The ions also attach themselves to allergens and other particles until the particles become large enough to fall out of the air or be caught by the air filtration system. We currently do not have testing data specific to COVID-19, as the virus is not available for testing.

Evaporator Coil Cleaning
Evaporator coil cleaning has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to COVID-19 on hard, non-porous surfaces. Although the solution we use is EPA registered for use on HVAC systems, it is also listed on the EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-COV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

MERV 13 or Higher Filter Upgrade
MERV 13 or higher filters can be used to capture the COVID-19 airborne droplet nuclei and droplets. The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined airborne droplets and droplet nuclei to range from 0.5-5.0 microns in size, which MERV 13 or higher filters are highly efficient in capturing.

Increasing Air Exchanges/Outdoor Air Ventilation

ASHRAE recommends increasing air exchange rates and outdoor air ventilation to help dilute indoor air contaminants. This can be achieved by further opening outside air dampers on HVAC units where available. Increasing the amount of outside air introduced to a building may come with increased energy consumption. This is a worthwhile solution to support the health of building occupants, but outside air dampers should be set back to normal after the risk passed.

Although these solutions will reduce the risk of transmission, they do not significantly impact short-range transmission. It is important that building occupants follow CDC recommendations such as: washing hands frequently, staying at least 6 feet away from other people, wearing a face mask, staying home if you feel sick and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.

It is more important than ever to perform preventative maintenance and run evaluations for your HVAC system due to COVID-19. Preventative maintenance and the solutions noted above are necessary throughout the year in order to help minimize germs, other viruses and air pollution within indoor spaces to provide a clean and safe environment.

While these are uncertain times, we take comfort in the fact that we have a dedicated team that goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of you and your tenants, as well as to deliver upon our promise of making your comfort our passion.