HVAC Systems and COVID-19 Safety

HVAC Systems and COVID-19 Safety

We’ve all hoped that the ongoing pandemic and spread of COVID-19 would be resolved after these past two years. COVID-19 continues to affect lives and businesses, including our own here at the Henick-Lane family.

We remain dedicated to ensuring the safety of everyone at your places of business as if they were our own. Being proactive about air quality and health is vitally important in reducing the possibility of coronavirus spreading at your place of business.

Can Air Conditioning Spread COVID-19?

Many business owners ask us, “Can our HVAC system distribute COVID-19 to our employees and us?” and “Does COVID-19 mean we have to change our HVAC system?

The answer to these questions is “Yes,” with some qualifiers. 

Unprotected, your air conditioning system can spread the droplets that carry COVID-19, but you can also use that same system to help prevent its spread in your places of business… protecting your employees and yourself.

By themselves, no air purifier or HVAC filter will completely prevent COVID-19 infection. The EPA says that HEPA filters and air cleaners – when used in combination with other recommended practices from the CDC – can deter the spread of coronavirus.

What About Coronavirus Variants?

There’s been much news coverage about and scientific investigation into coronavirus, especially the Delta variant and now the Omicron variant currently spreading through the nation. By following the EPA and CDC recommended practices along with HEPA filters and other contaminant reduction methods, you can reduce the potential for coronavirus to infect you and your employees.

Can HVAC Deter the Spread of Coronavirus?

As an airborne virus, ventilation and air quality are legitimate concerns. While HVAC changes and upgrades cannot eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, some changes can make it less likely. This is especially important for places like schools, theaters, and other places where groups congregate. Even better, the changes made to deter air transmission of coronavirus will also inhibit the spread of other respiratory virus droplets, mold spores, etc. 

The CDC updated its air ventilation recommendations a few months ago. When you’re looking for the best protection and air quality from an HVAC plant, there are several metrics to consider:

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are the foundation of air quality at your sites. These remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.1 microns. The diameter specification of 0.1 microns responds to the worst case; the most penetrating particle size (MPPS). Particles that are larger or smaller are trapped with even higher efficiency.

For better results, check if your system can still run efficiently if upgraded to MERV 13 filters. MERV is a metric for air filters that means Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values. MERV rating designate the Particle size in microns that are filtered. Not all HVAC systems can be upgraded to the highest MERV rating filters without severely impacting system performance. Ask our experts at Henick-Lane, and we can assess the best combination of solutions to address your air quality goals.

You can also add air cleaners to your HVAC systems to provide further protection. Air cleaners remove or decrease pollutants such as smoke, formaldehyde, or particles with viruses before they reach your HEPA filtration.

Another technology, bi-polar ionization, is also showing via an increasing body of evidence that it can also deter the spread of coronavirus and other contaminants

Ultraviolet light sterilization is another way to help clean the air. It uses specific wavelengths of ultraviolet light to deactivate viral particles and other potential biological contaminants before they reach you or your employees.

Henick-Lane Is Here for Your HVAC Needs

No matter what the size of your business is, our dedicated staff at Henick-Lane are here for you. We’re committed to working with you for cost-effective design, installation, and maintenance of your HVAC systemsContact us today, and our experts will work with you on creating a solution for your workplace to help you stay comfortable and healthy.