Can Air Conditioning Spread Covid-19?
Posted on 23rd March 2021 by jask Media
Do you use air conditioning within your business premises? If so, you may be wondering can air conditioning spread Covid-19?. This is a natural concern during a pandemic. However, as long as your air-con unit is cleaned and serviced regularly, you don’t need to worry. Proper ventilation is vital within workplaces at this time. Read on to find out more about air conditioning and the Covid-19 spread.
Why ventilation is important During The Covid-19 Outbreak.
Ventilation remains important during the Covid-19 pandemic. The law states that employers must continue to provide an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace. Proper ventilation actually reduces the concentration of the virus, improving the quality of the air and lowering the risk of transmission. Transmission occurs when people inhale small particles in the air after someone who has the virus has been in an enclosed space. Government guidance states that you should consider using ventilation to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. It can be an effective way of making your workplace more Covid-secure.
Fresh air reduces the risk of infection by over 70%
Studies show that letting fresh air into an indoor space can cut the risk of infection from Covid-19 by 70%. The virus lingers in the air when there’s no fresh air, increasing the chances of people inhaling infected particles. However, properly ventilating these areas can reduce the risk significantly. The reason for this is that the fresh air dilutes the particles. Many air conditioners take in air from the outdoors and expel it again, helping to improve ventilation.
What does the government say about air conditioning and Covid-19?
The Health and Safety Executive refers to air conditioning as mechanical ventilation which brings fresh air into a building. They say that employers can continue using most types of air-con units as normal. However, they recommend that they be set to maximise fresh air and reduce recirculation. Increasing the rate of air change, reducing the recirculation of air, and increasing the use of outdoor air can reduce the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces, as long as the system in use has been well-maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The HSE also advise that HVAC systems are operated not just during work hours but before and after staff arrive.
Recirculating air – is it a problem?
Air-con systems that have recirculation modes can still be operated safely, as long as they allow higher rates of fresh air to be supplied to an area. The guidance states that any air conditioning system that usually runs on a recirculation mode should be set up so that it runs on full outside air whenever possible. If like many businesses you use a centralised ventilation system that distributes air to different rooms, you should turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply instead.
You can still continue to use a recirculation unit that doesn’t produce fresh air. However, the government says that you should use take steps to bring outdoor air into a room in order to provide adequate ventilation. For example, you could leave doors and windows open. Opening a window whilst operating the unit is the best way to lower risk, even though it seems unconventional. Airing rooms frequently can help to improve ventilation. This involves fully opening all windows and doors to maximise the ventilation in the room. This is usually easier to do when the room is unoccupied or between uses.
Air-con units require regular maintenance
Regular inspection, maintenance, and cleaning of air conditioning systems in the workplace is vital. Strict standards for installation, maintenance, and filtration are vital for ensuring they are effective and safe. You should change filters regularly, particularly in the case of units that recirculate air and in workplaces where individuals are at a medium or high risk of being exposed to Covid-19. Experts say that ventilation systems with highly effective filters can play a key role in filtering droplets from the air.
If you require regular maintenance of your air conditioning in Sheffield, Barnsley, Leeds, or Hull, we can help. At FM Mechanical, we provide air conditioning servicing throughout the Yorkshire area and beyond. Our fully certified engineers possess the skills and expertise needed to work on a range of units from various industry-leading brands. We can make sure your air-con system is working effectively, efficiently, and safely, providing your workforce with high-quality ventilation.
FM Mechanical provide commercial air conditioning services to companies and organisations in a range of industries. We can work on systems within factories, office, hotels, gyms, and a wealth of other settings.
Using fans indoors – is it safe?
Whilst fans can be used safely at home amongst people who live together and who are not infected with Covid-19, they should be avoided in the workplace. Since some people can have the virus without displaying symptoms, air blowing around within enclosed spaces can increase the transmission.
If the use of table or pedestal fans is unavoidable, you should take steps to bring in fresh air from outside by opening windows or doors. Ceiling fans can help outside air to circulate, reducing stagnant air in closed spaces. However, similarly, it’s vital to maintain outdoor ventilation when they’re in use.
For further information on can air conditioning spread Covid-19 in Sheffield, Barnsley, Hull, or Leeds, contact FM Mechanical. You can call us on 0800 086 2519 to talk to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team. Alternatively, you can send us a message via the contact form on the website. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We can provide you with all the advice and guidance you need to use your air-con unit safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.