The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taught facilities managers and building owners many lessons. For one, it’s taught them the value of developing their HVAC COVID strategies to combat virus transmission. These strategies focus on delivering fresh air into buildings to dilute virus transmission with the help of clean HVAC systems.
Even as infection rates fall throughout the country, new variants continue to emerge. Therefore, these lessons of the past few years need to guide us going forward. This includes routine inspection and maintenance of HVAC systems to keep building occupants safe. Cleaning and disinfecting also assist in maintaining proper IAQ as air purification and monitoring provide further protection to building occupants. These steps helped buildings maintain proper IAQ throughout the pandemic and they’re here to stay.
Guidance on HVAC COVID Strategies
ASHRAE provides guidance on minimizing the risks of virus transmission and HVAC systems. As well, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) also provides advice on the environmentally responsible construction and operation of buildings. The recommendations of these organizations are supported by the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency. Together, they provide the blueprint for keeping buildings safe during and after the pandemic.
5 Important HVAC COVID Strategies
We know that the COVID-19 virus and its variants spread through aerosol transmission. This means the cleaning and disinfection of mechanical systems are as important as maintaining them. It also requires additional steps to purify the air and monitor conditions.
1. How Can You Manage, What You Don’t Measure?
To deal with a ventilation problem, facilities directors need to understand it. That means that routine inspection and maintenance of HVAC systems provide the foundation for good building health. HVAC testing, as well as building/envelope testing, resulting in immediate corrective action, effectively manages risks and ensures occupant well-being. For our part, Pure Air Control Services screens for allergens, fungi, and bacteria. We also log data such as wall and floor moisture, temperature, and humidity levels and provide an HVAC Hygiene Assessment that measures the impact a building system has on IAQ.
2. Cleaning and Disinfecting
Cleaning and disinfecting are important parts of any HVAC COVID strategy. For example, our PURE-Steam HVAC coil cleaning method is an effective way to restore the air handling unit. High-temperature steam of 350° F is used at pressures up to 350 psi to push debris through the coil. It is then removed by a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
The disinfecting aspect of the HVAC COVID strategy uses the hygiene duct cleaning process called PURE-Duct. This system uses EPA-registered disinfectants to get deep inside the HVAC system as well as the ductwork. In addition, the PURE-Decon system uses electrostatic DEP sprayers and misters to remove 99.9 percent of viruses, and pathogens from the system thus preventing their spread throughout the building.
3. Restoring Equipment
After cleaning and disinfecting comes restoration. This part of the HVAC COVID strategy includes three steps to restore equipment to near factory specifications. The PURE-Coat method uses sanding and garnet blasting and specialized paint to prevent rust and microbial growth. PURE-Cell replaces existing insulation with zero-porosity, fiberglass-free insulation that repels moisture and slows microbial growth while PURE-Liner refinishes the drain pain to slow the oxidation process while meeting the high demands of continuous HVAC operation.
4. Using Air Cleaning Technologies
While routine maintenance and inspections keep the HVAC COVID strategy on track, air cleaning technologies keep conditions safe 24/7. For example, the AeraMax Professional air purifier uses a 4-stage filtration system to trap airborne pollutants in a carbon filter. As well, Ultraviolet or UV lights kill 99 percent of harmful pathogens.
5. Monitoring as an HVAC COVID Strategy
With the other steps in place, facilities managers must keep their eye on the ball. Our IAQ Guard system is that set of eyes that provides around-the-clock surveillance of indoor conditions. Using a series of on-site monitors, the off-site team tracks conditions such as temperature, humidity, CO2, and VOC. When the team detects any change in conditions, facilities managers receive a notification and corrective action follows.
Get Your HVAC COVID Strategy in Place
Pure Air Controls has helped facilities managers maintain healthy indoor building conditions since 1984. We have studied the air quality in over 15,000 buildings and we have worked closely with schools, universities, healthcare facilities, and businesses big and small to help them develop the HVAC COVID strategies and meet their goal of improved IAQ. Contact us at 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.