Can Your Air Conditioner Spread Coronavirus?
There’s a lot we still don’t know about COVID-19, even six months into the pandemic. One debate is if air conditioning helps the spread of the coronavirus, especially in the heat and humidity of Florida, which has experienced a spike in cases recently.
Causation or Correlation?
A study in Guangzhou, China, points to aerosolized, coronavirus-infected particles being spread to families in a restaurant. In that case, 91 people were in the restaurant, including staff. Ten customers became ill with COVID-19. Smear samples from the air conditioner were negative for coronavirus. The researchers’ theory is that while the virus was not in the system, drafts from the air conditioner blew virus droplets farther than they would have normally gone.
“As people go indoors in hot weather and rebreathed-air fraction goes up, the risk of infection (from a virus) is quite dramatic,” said Edward Nardell, a Harvard Medical School professor of environmental health and of immunology and infectious disease at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
This means that the spike in numbers may or may not be due to air conditioning spreading coronavirus; it may be because people are gathering more inside because of hot weather.
Recirculated Air and Viruses
With HVAC systems in your home, it’s important to remember that the viruses and bacteria being recirculated are your viruses and bacteria. If you’re concerned about air quality in your home, there are things you can do. Schedule and perform regular maintenance, filter changes and ductwork cleaning.
It’s more complicated in public spaces.
The CDC recommends that office owners, employers and building operations specialists make sure all ventilation systems are functioning properly. Outdoor air should be added as much as possible, even if it means opening doors and windows, unless, of course, it poses a health risk for the people inside. Adjust ventilation system to increase the total airflow to occupied space. The CDC recommends to disable demand-control ventilation systems. Also, talk to your HVAC professionals about increasing filtration to maximum levels to improve air quality without impeding airflow.
So What Can We Do to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus?
Even though so much is unknown about COVID-19, there are a few things that we know for sure will help stop the spread of the virus. Stay six feet away from other people. Wear a face covering when you’re out of the house. Wash your hands frequently. Try to avoid indoor public spaces as much as you can – air conditioned or not – and practice good etiquette by coughing and sneezing into your elbow.
Barineau Heating and Air follows all CDC recommendations and the Leon County mask mandate when working in home and commercial spaces. We are taking precautions to keep your family and our employees safe. No team member will be sent to your home if they are experiencing signs of illness. Online payment options minimize in-person interaction. Team members will minimize their time inside your home. You may wait outside while work is being performed. Finally, when confirming your appointment, we’ll ask you about any COVID-19 symptoms and, if you’re sick, offered an option to reschedule.
We’re here for you and all of your commercial and residential air conditioning and ventilation needs. We can answer your questions about indoor air quality, too. Call 850-580-4029 for an appointment or book one online.