There have been reports that HVAC systems contribute to the spread of COVID-19. The recirculated air inside buildings means the virus can be spread around a building much further than it would under normal circumstances. There is therefore a correlation between COVID-19 Transmission and HVAC systems.

COVID-19 Transmission and HVAC

Edward Nardell, professor of medicine and global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School and professor of environmental health and immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said summer temperatures can create situations similar to those in winter. This is due to the elevated temperatures driving people indoors to air conditioned buildings, breathing this recirculated air.

COVID-19 virus is transmitted through large droplets expelled during coughing, sneezing, or talking. Nardell said there is evidence that shows some cases of COVID-19 occur via airborne transmission. This is when the virus is contained in smaller droplets. These remain airborne longer and don’t settle to the ground within 6 feet. Instead they hang in the air and drift on currents.

In colder climates, such as the Northern states, the need for air conditioning is not as high as in the southern states. However, when winter comes and furnaces are fired up, a similar situation can occur. People spend more time indoors taking shelter from snow storms and freezing temperatures. Being in these confined conditions without natural airflow can contribute to the spread of the virus.

Some buildings are now undertaking renovations and upgrades of their HVAC systems in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. New technologies for air filtration are being invested in. These technologies include the likes of “needlepoint bipolar ionization“. In this system an electronic charge creates a plasma field filled with a high concentration of positive and negative ions. As these ions travel on the airstream they attract pathogens and gases. The system targets pathogens that have settled on surfaces or in the air. It “attacks” an d kills viruses as well as combating other detriments to indoor air quality such as mold spores and bacteria, dust and other allergens.

What if you can’t install such filtration systems? Can sanitization and cleaning of standard HVAC systems ductworks and filters help? The National Air Duct Cleaners Association have stated there is currently no specific evidence that sanitization of ventilation systems can prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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