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The Importance Of Building Ventilation To Prevent The Aerosol Spread Of COVID-19

Aside from the obvious close person contact or contaminated surface method of transmission, evidence has shown coronavirus can remain airborne longer and for much further distances than was first thought. This is especially prevalent in indoor environments by the transmission of airborne particles.

The design and layout of your building and HVAC system, ventilation, air conditioning and heating system all impact the virus’ spread. And so, in addition to the basic advised precautions of social distancing, surface cleaning, handwashing and wearing masks, assessing your ventilation system can help prevent virus spread even further.

Indoor Air Ventilation Systems and COVID-19

If your building has a complex air conditioning and heating system (HVAC), you should work with an HVAC professional to improve or evaluate how the system is functioning. VSS (Ventilation Surveys and Services) is able to inspect your HVAC and confirm it meets statutory compliance. Managing your indoor air will not stop the spread of COVID-19, but you will significantly impact its spread through a properly ventilated indoor environment.

Health authorities have determined there are three main methods of transmitting the Coronavirus:

  • Transmission by suspended aerosols in indoor spaces
  • Contaminated surfaces
  • Transmission of small droplets from coughing or speaking

WHO (World Health Organization), along with the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention), acknowledge transmission by aerosols through improper ventilation of indoor spaces can be a severe threat for the spread of COVID-19. These organisations are seeing people infected, even though they remained more than 6-feet away from each other inside buildings. The cause of these contaminations is being traced back to indoor spaces that do not have adequate ventilation to disperse or remove the aerosolised particles.

How a Professional HVAC Service Can Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

These are some areas VSS can work with you to ensure your ventilation system is working at its best to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Air Flow Management– Airflow management will ensure you have an adequate fresh air supply running through your building. Overall air movement is essential in preventing the risks associated with transmissions of COVID-19. Bringing in outside air should be completed as much as possible. Another factor to consider is keeping your humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent during the autumn and spring seasons. Lower humidity levels during the winter months will prevent moisture from forming on windows and other surfaces. VSS can inspect your systems to ensure you have the proper amount of airflow to reduce your transmission risks. 
  • Proper Filtering of Your Indoor Air – If your HVAC system is properly fitted for filters, it will be able to stop the spread of gases, particles, and other emissions. VSS has an experienced team of professionals who are able to maintain your air filtration filters. Commercial buildings, such as schools, warehouses, offices, or others, should routinely have their filters changed and inspected. Your VSS professional can evaluate your filtration system to assess their condition and make any necessary recommendations. 
  • Clean Air Ducts Fight the Spread of COVID-19 – Dirty air ducts will potentially recirculate infections and germs and will reduce the designed air flow rates of the systems. Uncleaned ducts are a serious health risk for indoor air quality. VSS uses the latest technology and employs trained, experienced personnel to inspect and clean air ducts. You can achieve cleanliness levels as per BS EN 15780/ BESA TR19 standards with our ductwork inspection and surveys. 

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt everywhere and since it is still unclear how long the coronavirus pandemic will last for; we should make the efforts we can to instil home and workplace safety measures to help stop the spread.

VSS (Ventilation Surveys & Services) can ensure your building meets all industry best-practice standards and that all ventilation system and Part L Building regulations are met in order to help prevent the aerosol spread of the virus.