Can HVAC Systems Spread Coronavirus?

It has been a challenging 12 months for all of those in business and as we begin to reopen our offices and workspaces, a lot is being done to ensure that everyone stays safe. One concern which many have, especially those who do work in office spaces, is that of their HVAC systems, and whether or not it can spread the virus.

There is still a great deal which we do not know about the spread of this virus and especially when it comes to air conditioning systems. What we do now is that ventilation has become an increasingly important topic and the World Health Organization has in fact provided some advice on this.

What Is Known So Far

All that is known at the moment about HVAC systems are the facts; HVAC systems bring in air from outside and pump out air from the inside. In this particular instance, this does not present a significant threat to the spread of the virus. Those AC systems which recirculate air inside a particular area however, can potentially cause a problem. The Covid-19 virus is spread through what is called droplet transmission and aerosol transmission. In the case of droplet transmission, this is considered the most common method of passing on the virus. Virus filled particles from breath or coughing are passed through the air, on to the next person. Aerosol transmission causes more issues regarding HVAC systems. These are tiny particles which remain in the air for longer, and if that air is recirculated it can cause bigger issues in workplaces.

Erring on the Side of Caution

The current advice around ventilating your workspace is that you find ways to do so without using an air conditioning unit, if it can be avoided. This means the inclusion of fans in the workplace and the opening of windows. If you need to use an AC system then it is recommended that you place it on a lower setting so as not to push too much air around the space.

Little Can Be Done

It is important here that air conditioning systems aren’t being labelled as the culprits with regards to the spread of the virus. The risk which exists here in the workspace is that everyone is working closely with colleagues, there is a lack of social distancing and everyone is indoors which means less clean air coming through. It is true that an AC unit may give the virus the chance to live in the air for a little longer, but even with or without the AC, most of the time if the virus is present it will still find a way to spread itself around.

As you reopen your business, should you have any concerns about the ventilation inside the office then you should simply look at ways to ventilate without using the AC. As mentioned, everyone is still learning about HVAC systems and whether it can spread the virus; however the bigger culprit for spreading of COVID-19 is the lack of proper precautionary measures put in place. Be sure to stay safe & be smart on being COVID-19 prepared.