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Air conditioning and the Coronavirus - Everything You Need To Know

  • 31 Mar 2020

The spread of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is making waves all over the globe, with hundreds of thousands of people being affected worldwide.

Air Conditioning and Coronavirus

With the rates of infection so high in so many countries, the ways in which COVID-19 is transmitted between people is something that is being looked at carefully, including whether it is airborne and how you can catch it from others who may be infected.

A big question that continues being asked is 'does air conditioning spread the Coronavirus?', so we thought we would put together a blog about the topic for a little help.

Now, there is no simple yes or no answer as to whether air conditioners spread COVID-19. There is still so much we are unsure about when it comes to the disease, however there are a few factors that have been considered to date.

Filtration and size of particles

The first thing to remember is filtration - air conditioners filter particles through their systems in different ways and at different levels. For example, cruise ships use ac units that generally can not filter out particles that are less than 5,000 nanometers in size. For comparison, respiratory viruses that are similar to Coronavirus, such as SARS, are around 120 nanometers in size. So, if COVID-19 is around the same size, this means that it can spread through the cabins of a cruise ship without being filtered out.

Evidence of COVID-19 has been found in air conditioning vents in some hospitals, raising the question regarding filtration systems for many buildings. This is yet to be determined though.

Air usage

One of the points spoken about by experts when it comes to cruise ships is the air that is used in air conditioning systems is recycled air. Aircon arrangements that draw on outside air, as opposed to recycled air, can reduce the risk of environmental exposure to viruses such as Coronavirus.

Humidity and temperature levels

Finally, it has been found that when it comes to air conditioned rooms, low humidity and low temperatures can allow respiratory illnesses such as SARS to continue to survive. 

When it comes down to it, the AIRAH (the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating) have come out and said that they have found no evidence to suggest that aircons in homes and businesses transmit COVID-19 at this time.

 

It is still crucial however to take a look at your air conditioning and ventilation systems to help minimise the risk of environmental exposure, so chat with your local air conditioning expert. They can look at the filtering and humidity options, as well as the temperature settings, and change them where necessary to look out for your health. Give Fallon Solutions a call today on 1300 762 260 and we can discuss your needs.

 

 

Resources:

Daily Mail (Coronavirus could be spread by air-conditioning and may be more contagious than previously thought, scientists believe after finding traces of the virus in hospital air-duct): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8086457/Coronavirus-spread-air-conditioning-contagious-previously-thought.html

Australian Government - Department of Health (Coronavirus): https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-social-distancing.pdf

News Hub (Coronavirus: COVID-19 samples found in isolation room air vents): https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-samples-found-in-isolation-room-air-vents.html

The Fifth Estate (Coronavirus: What we know so far about managing the risk in buildings):https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/articles/coronavirus-what-we-know-so-far-about-managing-the-risk-in-buildings/

 

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