COVID cases are falling, but the pandemic is far from over. As vaccination rates rise and COVID cases fall, how can you get your business ready to open its doors safely? Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Epidemic Task Force recommend a layered approach.
Make Sure Idle Systems are In Good Working Order
If your system has been shut down for an extended length of time, follow standard practices for new construction startup to ensure proper system operation and safety. This is especially important for water systems and features such as humidifiers/dehumidifiers, cooling towers, and refrigeration units due to the risk for Legionnaire’s bacteria. This task is easily managed by requesting a maintenance service call from your local commercial HVAC mechanical services provider.
Exchange Indoor Air with Fresh Outdoor Air as Much as Possible
Because the COVID virus spreads more readily indoors than outdoors, where virus concentration is diluted, enhanced ventilation is crucial. This can be accomplished in a number of ways:
- Upgrading your building with added ventilation
Talk to your commercial HVAC contractors about ways to modify your system to improve ventilation, such as an exhaust, supply, or heat recovery ventilation system.
- Using natural ventilation
When weather permits, opening doors and windows, except when doing so, poses a health risk due to allergen or environmental contaminant exposure, reduces airborne viral concentration.
- Use fans
Fans improve circulation when windows/doors are open. Place fans in windows, exhausting air outdoors. Do NOT blow potentially contaminated air towards people.
- Decrease occupancy levels
If outdoor ventilation cannot be increased.
- Pre and/or post flush with outdoor air
Run HVAC at maximum outside airflow 2 hours before and after occupancy to enhance air cleaning within the system.
Improve HVAC Air Filtration
Talk to your commercial HVAC service company to determine the highest level of filtration your commercial HVAC unit can manage without affecting system performance and lifespan. ASHRAE recommends a true HEPA filter with a rating of 13 or higher. The higher the number, the more particles a filter can remove from the air.
Consider Adding an Air Purifier with UV Light
Incorporating an air purifier with an ultraviolet germicidal light into your commercial HVAC system offers another layer of protection, trapping and killing airborne contaminants. These systems are more effective than portable models, cleansing air throughout the building.
Enforce the Use of Masks and Social Distancing
Maintain the CDC’s recommended 6-foot social distancing measures whenever possible and continue wearing masks until most of the population has been vaccinated and herd immunity has been reached. While progress in our fight to control the virus continues, we are not out of the woods yet.
Every building faces unique COVID reduction challenges. Learn ways to effectively decrease the COVID viral load in your building through improved ventilation and filtration with help from H & H Commercial Services. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.