September 17, 2020
Improving ventilation to reduce the spread of airborne diseases
Homeowners are thinking about how safe the air they breathe indoors is now more than ever before.
According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the coronavirus appears to spread indoors through close personal contact and via poor circulation of building ventilation systems, so it makes sense that homeowners will increasingly demand more robust HVAC systems.
The CDC says the layout and design of a building, as well as occupancy and type of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, can all impact the potential airborne spread of the virus. Precautions include increasing ventilation with outdoor air and air filtration as part of a larger strategy that includes social distancing, wearing cloth face coverings or masks, surface cleaning and disinfecting, handwashing, and other precautions.
“Proper ventilation and indoor air quality must be maintained to ensure proper infection control and patient safety,” writes Gregory Hudson in HPAC Engineering.
Hudson lists air device selection and placement, replacement air free of contaminants, removal of pollutants through proper filtration or direct exhaust, and controls capable of maintaining ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers)-mandated airflows and pressure relationships as solutions for meeting today's higher expectations.
Here are some tips and upgrades you can recommend to your customers when assessing how to improve their home's indoor air quality.
- Operational windows – Now is a great time for homeowners to upgrade their windows as it is important to allow natural airflow. There are so many options for high performing windows to find any budget in the market today.
- Exhaust fans – Ventilation in bathrooms is also essential. There are many options to control humidity with energy-efficient models.
- Testing, Adjusting and Balancing (TAB) – Recommend tune-ups using TAB to verify airflows inside a building and adjusting when needed.
- Portable HEPA units – Install portable HEPA units in areas with poor ventilation within a home or building.
- Replacing air filters - HEPA filters can usually remove viruses and other tiny particulates that slip by the media in other filters (usually MERV 15-20)