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3 HVAC Methods of Controlling Airborne Infection

by Patti Althoff - Siwicki | Apr 22, 2020 | HVAC Installation, HVAC Repair | 0 Comments

What steps are you taking to help keep your indoor air and spaces clean and free of viruses, like the novel coronavirus, bacteria and other indoor air pollutants? According to the EPA, Americans spend roughly 90 percent of their time inside. This could be inside their homes, a grocery store, their workplace or another indoor venue. This means that residential, commercial and industrial buildings all need to take steps to keep their indoor air clean, especially when considering the prevalence of COVID-19, and its ability to infect. The good news is that you can utilize certain upgrades and repairs to your HVAC system in order to help eliminate contaminants from your indoor air.

Pathogens Found in Indoor Air

When you think about allergens, you probably think about the list of common allergy-causing particles that you can get from your weather app, including tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed, mold and pet dander. While these are common allergens, the list of air contentments for indoor air is much greater.

  • Viruses, like the flu, common cold and COVID-19
  • Pets, including pet dander and pet saliva
  • Mold, mildew and fungus
  • Pest waste, like pest droppings, bug carcasses and rodent urine
  • Bacteria, like legionnaires disease and those that cause bacterial pneumonia, strep throat and intestinal illnesses
  • Volatile Organic Compounds, which can be found and off-gassed via certain building components

Improving Indoor Air Quality and Removing Pathogens with HVAC Upgrades

If you are concerned about poor air quality caused by biological pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, and air contaminants, like mold, dust, pet dander and pollen as well as other air pollutants, there are steps you can take to improve the health of your indoor air beyond simply changing your air filter more frequently.

1. Upgrading Your Air Filter

In order to determine if you have the right air filter for your building, you may want to look at its MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. Knowing your filter’s rating will tell you how effectively it removes small particles. The scale ranges from 1 to 20, with 20 being the best type of filtration available today. If you want an air filter that is partially effective at filtering our viruses and bacteria, you need one with a MERVe rating of 13 or higher. A filter with a MERV of 13 will trap less than 75 percent of particles between .03 and 1 microns, 80 percent of particles that range in size from 1 to 3 microns and 90 percent of particles that measure between 3 and 10 microns.

Air filters with a MERV rating between 17 and 20 are typically HEPA or ULPA filters, and they offer the best filtration. Some charts rate them with the ability to remove 99 percent of air particles measuring .03 to 10 microns.

2. UV Antibacterial Lamps

UV antibacterial lamps use UVC light to damage the DNA inside viruses and bacteria. UV stands for ultraviolet, and it’s a form of radiation. Most people have heard of UVA and UVB light because these types of light can damage your skin and your eyes, and sunblock and sunglasses often state that they filter out UVA and UVB light. The sun also produces UVC light, but it is filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere. However, it is man-made via UVC lights, and when they are used to kill bacteria and viruses, it’s known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. These types of lights can be retrofitted into your existing HVAC system or inside your air ducts in order to kill pathogens that do not get trapped in your air filter.

3. Energy Recovery Ventilators

In order to maintain energy efficiency and keep heating and cooling bills low, building owners and property managers probably don’t want to open a window or leave a door open all day. Energy recovery ventilators allow for the venting of stale air and the inserting of fresh air into the building in a controlled manner. When they are in operation, stale air is removed from the building and outdoor air is sucked into the building, filtered and preconditioned so that it doesn’t take as much cooling or heating power to achieve your desired indoor temperature.

What We’re Doing to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

In addition to helping you retrofit and upgrade your HVAC system so that it is better able to filter out harmful pathogens, like the novel coronavirus, we are also taking steps to protect our staff and our clients. Each morning, we take the temperatures of all our employees and record the data. Anyone who is running a fever or displaying symptoms of a respiratory infection is sent home. We maintain a strict six-foot separation and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as advised and recommended while in our offices and at your Chicago building.

Scheduling HVAC Upgrades for Air Quality Improvement with Althoff

Here at Althoff, we are dedicated to helping you achieve your desired indoor air quality so that you can better protect your staff, residents and guests against airborne containments, like bacteria, dust, dirt, pollen, VOCs and even viruses, like COVID-19. We can retrofit UV air purifiers, determine the best type of air filter for your current HVAC system and provide additional ventilation services to help you reduce indoor air pollution.

To learn more about our HVAC clean air services, give us a call at 900-225-2443. We also offer 24-hour emergency HVAC services if your equipment suddenly stops working or severely malfunctioning.

Websites Where You Can Get Accurate Coronavirus Information

We know that you are concerned about the spread of COVID-19, and we want to remind you that if you are experiencing symptoms or running a fever, you should call your family doctor or medical practitioner for further advice and care recommendations as no one can provide you with better advice than a licensed healthcare professional. To stay updated on the latest virus activity, you should review the CDC guidelines and/or the information provided by the WHO. If you wish to read the latest research on COVID-19, please check out the information at the National Institute of Health.

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