NOT having a well-maintained HVAC system in commercial buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic can pose a risk.
The virus is known to be spread mostly by droplets on surfaces, however, there is a possibility of airborne transmission of the COVID-19 virus spreading as droplet nuclei (2.5 to 10 µm) can remain suspended in the air for hours and therefore can be entrained into HVAC systems.
It is highly recommended that building owners and operators take the recommended measures to further reduce these risks, and prioritise having their ventilation systems checked and cleaned to industry best practices as a preventive measure during this time. Failure to service and maintain these systems can create significantly higher safety risks in both occupied and unoccupied buildings.
1. Cleaning, disinfection & filtration
In commercial HVAC systems, air filters can be readily changed, and cooling and heating coil surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected using approved methods and chemicals. This will kill and remove any residual particles.
Cleaning and disinfecting of HVAC systems that include wall-mounted or console type induction type units at this time is imperative, as well as the supply, exhaust and return air registers/grilles, the attached ductwork of exhaust and ventilation systems.