Can Covid-19 Affect Your HVAC System?
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
One of the big questions about Covid-19 — especially from an HVAC perspective — is how significant of a role airborne transmission plays in its spread.
Air Filters Have Even Bigger Shoes to Fill
Air purifiers work pretty much how you’d imagine — they draw air in and then send purified air out. Many people use them effectively to combat allergies and they do a great job removing odors from your home. Overall, they do a fantastic job of removing large particulates such as mold, pollen, and pet dander from the air, but they also face limitations.
A standard HEPA filter, for example, can catch 99% of the bad stuff floating around in your home. This is great news for improving indoor air quality in general and this can provide health benefits. However, viruses such as COVID-19 and others are much smaller than bacteria and other pollutants, making them that much harder to eliminate.
Upcoming HVAC Filter Enhancements
As coronavirus is believed to be an airborne illness, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has released resources for addressing the 2020 outbreak. They cover guidelines for indoor air quality, residential buildings, healthcare facilities, and more. We know that some hospitals have already begun putting protocols in place to protect patients, but what about our homes?
Some air filter manufacturers are testing their consumer-grade products (particularly HEPA filters) against COVID-19, and the results have been promising. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that while HEPA filters may trap the virus, it won’t be destroyed. Instead, it will “remain alive inside the filter for as long as the virus survives.” In some cases, this can be for as long as nine days.