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Coronavirus & Air Conditioning - What you need to know

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While the reports that a restaurant air conditioning system could have created one of the hot spots in the spread of the coronavirus in the earlier stages of the outbreak, this is not as cut and dried as it sounds. Investigations into the incident suggest that the spread in this instance was more likely due to the aircon fan blowing air from the infected person across to other patrons, rather than the system drawing in the infected droplets and recirculating them through the restaurant. The investigation also looked at the lack of fresh air circulating within the restaurant being a contributing factor as the room did not have windows.

Coronavirus and Air Conditioning

From this and many other investigations recommendations have been made involving the spacing out of people in social situations, including restaurants, to ensure that the likelihood of spreading the coronavirus by air conditioning is reduced in Australia.

Establishing a climate-controlled environment which minimises the risk of spreading coronavirus infected particles in your home or businesses is possible with careful planning and maintenance.

Good ventilation to dilute coronavirus particles

Providing good ventilation can help to dilute the air in enclosed spaces, reducing the risk of contact with viral particles and assisting the process of moving the virus out of the room.

The filtration systems of most well-maintained air conditioning systems in well-ventilated areas can also cut down the virus spread catching some particles in the system filters.

Carrying out effective practices such as the following are recommended:

  • Maintaining your air conditioning systems regularly.
  • Routine cleaning of aircon filters.
  • Periodic professional deep air conditioner cleaning of split systems.
  • Maintain ventilation throughout the room by opening windows or doors where ever possible.
  • If you have a ducted aircon system and it has a fresh air option, use it.
  • Keep to the recommended number of people in a room at one time.
  • Minimise time spent in poorly ventilated spaces.

As pre-existing respiratory issues can increase the severity of Coronavirus if caught it’s imperative to keep your air conditioner clean and free of mould, mildew, and other allergens which can trigger health issues.

Ongoing vigilance is essential

According to authorities the threat of this deadly virus is not a short term issue and it’s essential to continue to maintain good hygiene and air conditioning habits in the future to protect your family, workers, and customers from the ongoing risk of infection.

 

References:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0764_article
https://www.healthline.com/health-news/can-air-conditioning-spread-covid-19-probably-not#Air-conditioning-industry-responds
https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/resources
https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2020-04-16/coronavirus-airborne-transmission-3-hours-covid-19/12146526

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