I don’t have a ventilation system, just an air conditioning system. What can I do to improve the air flow and quality and minimise the spread of germs and viruses?
The best way to improve air quality and flow, would be to add a ventilation system to your air conditioning system. However, if you would prefer to just keep your air conditioning system, there are ways to improve air quality.
We’d always recommend on servicing your air conditioning regularly. Regular cleaning of filters is also important – usually we would recommend doing this every 6 months but doing this more frequently will help to improve the quality of the air.
There are also sanitised mist systems than can be added to air conditioning systems, to clean the equipment and to help sanitise the area. JD Cooling systems can provide environment disinfection through hydrogen peroxide fogging, which is often used in the healthcare sector, and can also provide added reassurance to other work environments too.
Another option is our CO2 monitor fitting service. As the UK finally makes the move back to the workplace, the HSE has released new guidelines recommending measuring levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a given space to measure how well ventilated it is. While CO2 levels aren’t a direct measure of exposure to Covid-19, it could mean better ventilation is needed to keep people safe. If you’re a business owner who doesn’t necessarily have the time or expertise but want to ensure the safety of your workers with Covid-19 still out there, without spending more than you need to on ventilation equipment, this is for you. To find out more about this low cost solution to Covid-19 risk management, please visit our CO2 monitoring page here.
HSE bulletin: Scientists advise office CO2 monitoring to help manage COVID-19 risk – “Ensuring adequate ventilation is a key element, and the appropriate use of tools such as CO2 monitoring can give building managers a much better understanding of their own ventilation systems and how they are performing for each activity undertaken in the space.”. Read HSE’s full news bulletin here.
How can we minimise spread of airborne viruses in the workplace?
In addition to implementing social distancing, supplying appropriate PPE, sanitising products and providing a hygienic hand-washing area, the other area to consider is minimising the spread of airborne molecules.
Good ventilation reduces the concentration of the virus in the air and therefore reduces the risk from airborne transmission. Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus. By improving air quality, you can help to protect your team.
Why are we more likely to catch Covid-19 and other viruses within an indoor environment?
Covid-19 can be transferred between humans through airborne transmission in aerosol. This means that if an individual has tested positive for Covid-19, virus particles like small droplets are expelled through breathing, coughing, and sneezing. Larger droplets will fall onto surfaces within 2 metres, and the smaller droplets travel in the air and can remain airborne indefinitely within indoor environments.
It is therefore widely accepted that spaces need ventilation to replace this stale air. In addition, we know that transmission is five times more likely to occur from talking compared to regular breathing, and 30 times more likely to be found in the air from singing when compared to breathing within indoor environments.
What evidence is there to suggest that a ventilation system will minimise the spread of germs and viruses like Covid-19?
There is a correlation between the risk of catching viruses like Covid-19 within poorly ventilated indoor environments. To back this up, there is a recent scientific study from Jones B et al (October 2020) “Modelling uncertainty in the relative risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus by airborne aerosol transmission in well mixed air in Buildings”. The research which examined school environments, shows that poorly ventilated indoor spaces increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission. The study found that as the ventilation flow increased, the exposure risk decreases.
Is it important to have ventilation all year round? Does the season make a difference to the rate in which viruses and germs spread?
The short answer is that good ventilation is important all year round, and especially in the winter months when viruses are more likely to spread. There is evidence to show that the moisture content of the air has a direct relationship with Covid-19, SARS and many other viral survival rates. During winter conditions where temperatures are around 0°c/ 90%RH, there is little if any impact on the virus decay, this means the virus is more likely to remain active airborne for longer.
Whereas summer conditions, with temperatures around 21°C/65%RH, the viral decay is 40 minutes, which means that the virus will decay within 40 minutes and is therefore less likely to be transmitted. In even warmer environments, around 25°C/60%RH, the virus’ decomposes takes less time and the virus will decay within just 26 minutes. This evidence is backed up by the high numbers of reported respiratory and flu viruses within the month of December.
We can install a ventilation system into almost any indoor environment.
If you’d like to discuss a project with us, call one of our engineers for a free consultation on 01553 767 446 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org