When the novel coronavirus rose to prominence one year ago, scientists scrambled to learn more about the nature of the virus and how it most easily spreads from one person to another. In those early months, many experts cautioned that the virus might be able to live on surfaces for extended periods of time. Since then, it has been discovered that surface transmission is not the primary method for the spread of COVID-19, but rather that respiratory droplets containing the virus posed the greatest risk -- this is known as airborne transmission. These virus-containing droplets may also become aerosolized, wherein they remain in the air for up to three hours, during which time nearby individuals can catch the illness.
Considering that airborne and aerosolized transmission are the two main methods of spread, many businesses are wondering whether the air itself can be disinfected and protected from COVID-19. As it turns out, yes, you can disinfect the air in your facility. Here’s how air disinfection for coronavirus works.
The better-ventilated your facility is, the harder it is for droplets carrying COVID-19 to linger in one place. It’s only logical that increased air circulation prevents this virus (along with other viruses and contaminants) from finding a host. While optimizing your indoor and outdoor ventilation systems is not technically a method of disinfection like spraying and wiping surfaces, it reduces the likelihood that someone carrying COVID-19 will transmit it to someone else -- especially if both parties are following social distancing guidelines and properly wearing masks. Some ways to increase and optimize ventilation in your facility include:
- Opening doors and windows when the weather allows
- Installing fans to boost air circulation
- Use portable HEPA filtration systems to consistently clean the air
- Make sure exhaust fans in restrooms and food prep areas are fully functional when these spaces are occupied/in use
- Lower occupancy wherever outdoor ventilation systems can’t be increased
- ...and more
Maintain All HVAC Systems and Components
Regarding heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems specifically, double down on maintenance efforts -- regularly clean components, change out filters when necessary, test each system for functionality and optimization, and so on. Once again, while your HVAC systems will not disinfect your facility’s air, per se, it will minimize the potential threat of airborne and aerosolized COVID-19 particles within your walls. Failing to properly maintain these systems can allow dust and other contaminants to reduce your indoor air quality and make it easier for viruses like those that cause COVID-19 to linger until a host is present.
Employ Electrostatic Disinfection Methods
For a more proactive approach to air disinfection, consider installing an electrostatic air filter and/or hiring electrostatic disinfection services to spray down your entire facility at certain intervals. Unlike standard air filters, electrostatic air filters charge particles (i.e. positive charge) upon entering the filter via electricity in order to trap them, keeping the air inside your facility pure. There are many types of electrostatic air filters on the market, but they all operate under this same principle. The best filters for COVID-19 are those that can capture particles as small as 1.0-3.0 pm in size. Talk to professional disinfection services to learn more about electrostatic air filtration, how it works, and which option is best for your facility.
Additionally, UV-C light may be an option for healthcare facilities and other high-tech environments for air disinfection.
COVID-19 Is in the Air
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be winding down with the distribution of effective vaccines and the promise of warmer weather. Still, this is no reason to let your guard down. To keep your people safe and remain compliant with relevant mandates, you must equip your facility with the necessary COVID-19 supplies and disinfection methods for the foreseeable future. If you’re ready to purify your facility’s air quality to keep COVID-19 out, the experts at The Budd Group have the expertise and equipment you require. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!
For more information regarding ventilation for COVID-19 from the CDC, click here.