Do HVAC Systems Help Spread Viruses Like COVID-19?
Since the recent outbreak of COVID-19, there have been numerous reports from health professionals stating that the virus spreads via water droplets in the air. Naturally, many people started questioning if their HVAC systems, which move around recirculated air, help spread viruses like COVID-19.
To clear up the issue and mitigate concern, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about how potentially infected air is handled by an HVAC system.
What the Science Says
First, it’s important to know that there have been limited studies done on the spread of COVID because at this point it’s unsafe to test given the lack of a vaccine. However, those that have been carried out in real-world situations have suggested that it is not likely that COVID could be spread via an HVAC system.
This study was done in a real-world restaurant where two diners were known to have been infected by a third person. The research, which was carried out to determine how airflow could be the culprit for COVID transmission, found that the contamination was due to proximity and was not attributed to the restaurant’s airflow system. This suggests that the virus cannot withstand travel over distances longer than about six feet, even when airflow is introduced.
Another study carried out by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy found that, with very basic air filtration installed in an air circulation system, there was no evidence to suggest that HVAC systems are a major culprit for spreading the virus.
Why Don’t HVAC Systems Spread COVID?
Since experts believe that the virus cannot survive outside of the human body for long periods of time, the likelihood that they could travel through an HVAC return, pass through your HVAC ventilation system, travel through the ductwork throughout your home, and be expelled out into the open air is very small.
In addition to long distances through your equipment and ducts, HVAC systems often mix in fresh air from outside of your home, and this further limits the possibility that droplets infected with COVID will make it back into your house.
How to Limit the Chance of Spreading COVID Via HVAC
There are some practices that can help further reduce the chances of spreading COVID via your HVAC system, and these should be followed carefully for maximum effectiveness.
First, screening all visitors to your home will help limit the chance that an infected person brings COVID into your home. Second, you should have your ducts and system cleaned to make sure that your ventilation is working properly and that clean air is being circulated constantly.
Having routine maintenance done will also ensure that your entire system is working as it should. Lastly, health experts have reported that having a mechanical or UV air purification system installed can help remove any potentially harmful air from your home.
Although there isn’t an abundance of information about COVID given the lack of a vaccine, experts maintain that HVAC systems are an unlikely way for the virus to spread. However, routine maintenance and cleaning, and installing an air purification system can help reduce the risk further. Speak with one of our highly-trained HVAC professionals today to get an air purifier installed in your home.