In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, healthy buildings are as important as ever. Of course, facilities managers face many challenges in improving indoor air quality to keep building occupants safe. In addition to establishing social distancing and frequent hand washing guidelines, maintaining HVAC systems is key. A focus on ventilation systems alone won’t be enough, however. It is also important to bolster their performance using a combined IAQ approach.
Guidelines to Create Healthy Buildings
As we have touched on before, ASHRAE provides guidelines for commercial businesses on maintaining healthy buildings. Methods for cleaning and disinfecting HVAC systems as well as monitoring and air purifying help building managers follow these guidelines. This also includes evaluating and inspecting HVAC systems to address repair and maintenance issues and having a building readiness plan. Lower energy costs also result when managers take these steps to improve building health. As you can see, there is no simple solution for creating healthy buildings. It takes a combined IAQ approach using several systems and methods.
A Combined IAQ Approach
The combined approach to better IAQ includes several services and methods. From ventilation concerns to cleaning and disinfecting, facilities managers should not expect a simple solution. Instead, a multi-pronged approach is needed to improve the health of the buildings in their care. The result is a building with a lower risk of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but also allergens, gasses, VOCs, fungus, bacteria, and molds.
A combined IAQ approach addresses the following:
Ventilation and Filtration
Exceeding ASHRAE guidance also means facilities managers should make sure their HVAC systems provide the required minimum amounts of outdoor air for ventilation. Filters must be MERV 13 or better to ensure proper air circulation. Regular replacement of filters is also important to maintaining healthy IAQ.
Systemic & Localized Air Cleaners
Viruses are tiny. So tiny that many building managers believe they cannot be contained by even the best HEPA or highest rated MERV filters. While it is true that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is as small as 0.08-0.09 microns, we also know that this pathogen travels in aerosol droplets as large as 0.25 microns. The surrounding liquid eventually evaporates but not before the filters have an impact. Of course, this method cannot be relied on alone. A combined IAQ approach places importance on factors such as HVAC system design as well. Needlepoint bipolar ionization is another way to improve other efforts to generate cleaner indoor air.
Bipolar ionization technology installed within the AHU releases millions of positive and negative ions into the ductwork. These tiny atoms form clusters around pathogens. This triggers the oxidation process in cells and destroys the pathogen. This also makes the resulting clusters easier to catch by the filters thus preventing them from entering the occupied space.
Air cleaning devices placed throughout the building also use ionization to provide a continuous source of clean air. For example, a single commercial-grade air purifier, such as the True HEPA Air Purifier, cleans the air in rooms up to 1,400 square feet. These devices help medical facilities, schools, government buildings, and offices create healthier IAQ.
A Combined IAQ Approach to HVAC Cleaning
Cleaning the HVAC system is an effective way to improve IAQ, but also to prolong the lifespan of equipment.
A combined IAQ approach also includes duct cleaning. Effective duct cleaning goes deep inside the ductwork with high-pressure air turbulence to knock out dust and debris. After these particles are loose within the ductwork, an industrial-strength vacuum system removes them with the help of a HEPA filter. In addition to viruses, this system removes bacteria, mold, and fungi.
Evaporator Coil Cleaning
PURE-Steam HVAC coil cleaning is another effective part of a combined approach to IAQ. This method cleans the evaporator coil as well as the interior of the air handling unit and returns it to near factory specification. This system uses steam heated to temperatures up to 350° F to disinfect the coils and AHU. This high-temperature steam kills bacteria and mold and removes allergens and odors.
Start Your Combined IAQ Approach Today!
Pure Air Control Services provide the tools and resources needed for a combined IAQ approach. We help government, health care, and private commercial businesses get better IAQ while reducing energy costs and saving money. Contact Pure Air Control Services today. Call 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.