The way the COVID-19 virus spreads has been unclear over the course of the pandemic, but one point has always been consistent, and that is that airborne aerosols seem to be one of the most powerful modes of transmission for the virus.
What has been strange, however, is the lack of attention the importance of proper ventilation has been getting until now. More studies are now finding that ventilation could play a crucial role in controlling the spread of the disease, as well as its severity. With this in mind, let’s learn more about how and why ventilation control is so important in the fight against COVID-19.
Increasing Ventilation in Highly Populated Areas Could Make a Significant Difference
The risk of airborne transmission is greater when there is a build-up of virus-laden air. This is why there is a much greater risk of disease transmission when someone sneezes in an elevator than outdoors. The risk is also greater when there are more people in a given area. Improving building ventilation is one possible way to reduce the spread of the virus indoors. This could be achieved simply by increasing the overall rate of airflow throughout the building. That alone will reduce the ability for virus-laden droplets to settle on surfaces.
The Importance of Better Home Ventilation
Home ventilation systems could also play an important role to help combat the spread of the disease. A home ventilation system with extractor fans in heavily trafficked areas like bathrooms, hallways and kitchens becomes a necessity for your family’s safety, just like it is vital in commercial settings.
Combining increased airflow with far better air filtration would not only reduce the spread of potential infections, but it would reduce allergies and chemical exposure too. For example, faster air exchange rates combined with advanced air filters will remove the wide majority of pathogens and the amount of dust, mould and pollen in the air too. This only goes to prove that filtration systems are much more important than what most homeowners believe right now.
Get Indoor Humidity under Control
The survival time of coronaviruses is higher in places with low temperatures and the humidity is below 30%. Therefore you can reduce the survival rate of the virus is when temperatures are between 20-30°C, and the air is very dry. Most people do not know this and it means maintaining indoor humidification may reduce coronavirus infection rates. The typical home’s humidity level is between 20% and 40%.
Maintaining humidity levels at the higher end of this range will maximise both comfort and health. You can do this with the use of affordable humidifiers that are even available in many general stores and supermarkets.
Avoid Recirculating Air
American and European engineering associations are recommending that we avoid air recirculation to limit the potential spread of coronaviruses. One solution is installing ventilation systems that bring in more outside air but transfer heat between them. Another is increasing whole-building ventilation and air exchange rates instead of recirculating air via fans.
Generally speaking, recirculating air is a very bad idea, no matter how it happens. This is due to the fact that air that could be infected stays on the premise instead of moving out. As you can easily imagine, this is a sure recipe for disaster.
Add Disinfection Systems
We may see an uptick in air cleaning and disinfection systems because air filtration is not enough when you’re dealing with viruses. We may see more installations of ultraviolet light systems in residences. Portable air cleaners could be used, as well, assuming the devices are properly sized for space.
A lack of adequate ventilation is already associated with a variety of health problems. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the improved air quality in our homes and workplaces a priority. Every single homeowner is responsible for the quality of the air inside his/her home. Do not make the mistake of not making this a priority.
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