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.
Measures include:

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.

Airborne contaminants, viruses and germs can be minimised, eliminated and contained in the air conditioning systems by proper filtration.   Air filters should be replaced or cleaned more often than scheduled.

Air Conditioning systems filters need to be upgraded to a MERV high-efficiency filter.  If it is not possible, the existing serviceable washable filters need to be cleaned using approved methods and chemicals. This can reduce any transmission of the virus through the system.

2. Humidity temperature adjustments and ventilation rate changes.

  • Increase the indoor air (circulation) rates and ventilation to reduce the likelihood of infections by diluting contaminants in the air.
  • Increase exhaust fans air rates to a maximum and check that the outside air rates are operating at the minimum statutory rates. We will make the necessary adjustments.
  • Adjust and ensure the heating/cooling temperature settings to achieve relative humidity of between 40-60%. Scientific research has proven a positive impact on virus reduction and infection by insuring these rates.

3. Maintenance regimes and essential safety measures

The continued application of good housekeeping and preventative maintenance regimes are imperative. HVAC maintenance should be carried out as prescribed by the recognised standards and maintenance procedures should be adhered to. The scheduled statutory maintenance of these systems and other essential systems is mandatory.

Please contact CFM Air Conditioning on 03 8786 3088 or send us an enquiry.