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HVAC and the fight against Covid-19
22 April 2020

HVAC and the fight against Covid-19

In these times where the headlines are dominated by what just 2 months ago to many were just meaningless words such as Covid-19 and “Coronavirus”, and where uncertainty, fear, misinformation, and anxiety run rampant, peace of mind is difficult to come by. But, with this blog, we are going to do our absolute best to provide accurate and practical information as well as ways to ease your anxieties.

Right now, millions of Americans are sheltered in place, making every effort to prevent/limit their exposure and the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2 that causes the Covid-19 disease. Unfortunately, if you are like us who are deemed essential in service trades, manufacturing, construction,  emergency/first responders, foodservice, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, etc, you do not have the choice to work in your underwear from the comfort/safety of home. All of those on the front lines every day during this pandemic put yourself and your family at risk of exposure each time you go to work and come back home.

So, what can you do to better protect yourself and your family? Before we start giving practical ways to fight “Da ‘Rona”, let’s first look at some basic facts about the nasty bug.

  1. According to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine, SARS-CoV-2 can adhere to and remain viably infectious on several different surfaces. In the air, the virus can live in aerosol particles (droplets/vapors from coughs, sneezes, talking, breath, etc) for up to 3 hours. On copper, which is found in practically every component of HVAC systems, it can survive up to 4 hours. On stainless steel and plastic, it was viable for 2 to 3 days. On Cardboard, this coronavirus remains viable for up to 24 hours. See  study here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973
  2. While it is unknown how long the virus can survive on clothing, according to a 2005 study (https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/41/7/e67/310340) of a similar coronavirus (coronaviruses are a family of viruses that have spikes on them resembling a crown, which corona is the Spanish word for), the viability/level of infectiousness of viral spores on clothing/fabrics depends on the number of spores in a droplet. It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 24 hours. To offer a little bit of reassurance to you now, you would basically have to have someone cough, sneeze, or breathe in your face or directly on your clothes or make direct contact with the virus on a surface such as a table or a chair for substantial amounts of spores to be on you.
  3. It is possible for the virus to survive on shoes. A recent study of healthcare workers in Wuhan, China (where the novel coronavirus was first discovered. Link: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0885_article) found that half of them had the bug detected on their shoes. This probably seems obvious to you, being that they are in an environment surrounded by patients infected with it all day. But, since the virus survives on several surfaces, even outside of a hospital, your feet can pick it up. What’s more, since it can stick to your shoes and survive there, you can track it into your home on your feet. If viral spores are on your floor, and you have a pet, it can stick to their fur, which transmits to you from petting them. If you have a child that crawls or likes to play on the floor, they can contract it. Even if you do not have a kid or pet, moving around in your house or running your AC system can stir the spores up and make them airborne the same way dust and allergens are and they can be sucked into your returns and circulated through your house via the AC. 

So, what can you do to combat the coronavirus? Well, we’ll start with the obvious stuff you already know. Wash your hands religiously with soap and hot water for 20 seconds (or at minimum, use hand sanitizer regularly), disinfect surfaces regularly (especially high-touch ones such as light switches, doorknobs/handles, counters/tables/desks, your cell phone/tablet, toilet flush handles, sink knobs, remote controls, etc.), maintain appropriate “social distance” when possible in public (6-10 feet of space is recommended), and last but not least, try to avoid going out as much as possible (if it’s not for work, groceries/food, or exercise, stay home).

Some other practical suggestions: as we said earlier, the virus is not necessarily viable on clothing for long periods of time. But, if it helps ease your mind, you can change clothes/shower every time you come back from being in public or work. Consequently, you can wash your clothes more frequently. You can also avoid shaking out dirty laundry to avoid the possibility of making spores go airborne. Due to the ability of the virus to stick to shoes, consider leaving your shoes at your door when you come in. Last, but certainly not least, as an HVAC company we harp on this one. Change your filters monthly. Not only is it important to ensure efficiency in your system, but it is crucial for air quality. Dirty filters don’t catch particles. They actually can release them into your system.

We can also help you from an HVAC standpoint. First off, we offer expert duct cleaning services that will help to get any dirt, dust, and any other nasty microbes accumulated in your ductwork out. We also offer a “Breathe Easy Package” that consists of one of 3 different devices and a filter that work together to purify your whole home.

The BEP contains either a REME Halo, the UV Photomax, or the Air Scrubber plus, and an air bear filter.

 

a REME Halo
  • A REME Halo (Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy) is a device that is installed in the plenum box of your AC system’s ductwork. In short, it uses the same means of air purification nature does for outdoor air. Have you ever wondered what makes that fresh air smell after a thunderstorm? Nature uses ionized hydrogen peroxide plasma particles (Hyperperoxides) in the air to cause pollutants to stick together and be more easily destroyed. In the REME Halo’s case, it produces Hyperperoxides spreads them through your ducts and out into your home’s air-conditioned space, causing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), viruses, mold, and other harmful microbes to stick together and be more easily caught by your air filter when they are sucked into your return.

 

UV Photomax

 

  • The UV Photomax is a UV-C light germicidal light that treats the air flowing through your ducts. As air passes through, harmful microbial particles also pass through the photomax, channeling into an oxidation chamber where they are exposed to a lethal dose of UV light and eventually break down and become harmless and odorless components.
  • Air Scrubber Plus

    The Air Scrubber Plus is a very similar device to the Photomax. It is  a UV-C light that is installed within ductwork that kills microbes as they pass through its oxidation chamber.

“Air bear” filters
  • Air bear filters. These high-MERV rating, thick, and pleated whole-home media filters are designed with plenty of additional surface area for air to pass through so that they catch more particles. They will catch particles 0.3 microns in size and higher.

Give us a call TODAY at (864)-578-7575 or click on “Get started” to get set up for any of the services above! We are still working our regular hours through this pandemic!

For more info on these devices and indoor air quality, see the following older blog posts:

https://www.boilingspringshvac.com/blog/89-2/

https://www.boilingspringshvac.com/blog/indoor-pollution-solutions/

https://www.boilingspringshvac.com/blog/hvac-and-pet-care/

https://www.boilingspringshvac.com/blog/air-filtration-search-filters-and-tips/

We hope that you have found this to be enlightening and informative and that you can use some of this information to help protect both yours and your family’s health. Let’s all do our part to stave off the spread of Covid-19! We will get through this together!

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