The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic puts indoor air quality in the spotlight. As a result, the public is now more familiar with terms such as IAQ, UV, and bi-polar ionization, as well as aerosol virus transmission. They better understand the importance of ventilation to their health indoors. For many facilities managers, these issues were already a part of their everyday focus and overall operating procedures. When COVID disappears from the news and our lives get back to normal, what happens to concerns about indoor air quality? What does post-pandemic IAQ look like?
Some form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be with us for a long time. The emergence of variants creates the need for continued IAQ measures to keep buildings safe. Ensuring proper ventilation and protecting the health of occupants remains an important part of building management. However, this is something that many failed at even before the pandemic, schools in particular. For example, the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) published a report in 2020 based on finding from 2019 revealing that 41 percent of U.S. school districts needed to update or replace HVAC systems in a little over half of their schools.
Of course, the pandemic highlighted the need for improvements and many schools used funds available through the CARES Act to make upgrades. While this is a step forward, it’s not enough. The minimum standard for what is acceptable IAQ in buildings needs changing. It’s time to raise the bar for post-pandemic IAQ and facilities managers must lead the charge.
Raising the Bar on Pandemic IAQ
Creating a new minimum for acceptable pandemic IAQ requires new goals, not just for health, but for sustainability as well. The combination of current and emerging technologies plays an important role in meeting new goals. For its part, Pure Air Control Services offers several methods for testing and monitoring indoor environmental conditions. We are also experts in the cleaning, disinfecting, and restoration of HVAC equipment.
Assessing Post-Pandemic Indoor Air Quality
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s why any attempt to improve IAQ starts with a complete assessment of conditions. That includes the performance of the HVAC system and its impact on health, sustainability, and energy costs. This starts with an HVAC Hygiene Assessment. The assessment gauges the impact the system has on air quality through visual inspections as well as testing samples collected from the HVAC system. Our Environmental Diagnostic Lab (EDLab) looks for the presence of fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens including SARS-CoV-2. This is an important part of maintaining proper post-pandemic air quality.
Cleaning, Disinfecting and Restoring the HVAC System
Maintaining proper pandemic IAQ requires a clean HVAC system. Toward this goal, the PURE-Steam HVAC coil cleaning method restores the air handling unit using high-temperature steam at pressure up to 350 psi. This pushes dirt and debris through the coil where it is removed by a vacuum with a HEPA filter. The PURE-Duct cleaning system uses EPA-registered disinfectants to clean the HVAC system and ductwork as the PURE-Decon system uses electrostatic DEP sprayers and misters to destroy 99.9 percent of pathogens.
After cleaning and disinfecting, the New Life Restoration method improves the performance of the system. This has the double benefit of lowering energy and maintenance costs while extending the lifespan of the system. It includes the installation of PURE-Cell fiberglass-free zero-porosity material to prevent moisture and microbial growth. The PURE-Coat method includes garnet blasting and sanding before the application of specialized paint to prevent corrosion and rust. As a final protective measure, PURE-Liner refinishing protects the drain pain against oxidation.
Smart Technologies for Post-Pandemic IAQ
The use of smart air cleaning technologies is another component in maintaining post-pandemic IAQ. For example, the AeraMax PRO AM air purifier mounts to the wall where it cleans the air in rooms up to 1,400 square feet. It uses bipolar ionization and a hybrid HEPA filtration system to rid the air of allergens, fungi, VOCs, and more. PureView technology lets you observe operation in real-time while EnviroSmart 2.0 sensors adjust performance based on room conditions. Ultraviolet or UV lights are another effective tool in keeping post-pandemic indoor air quality safe. These devices use ultraviolet C disinfection and ultrasonic dry mist to sanitize and disinfect.
Monitoring Post-Pandemic IAQ
Since half of a building’s energy use is associated with either controlling air contaminants or the thermal environment, around-the-clock monitoring of indoor environmental conditions is worth the cost. IAQ Guard provides data on temperature, relative humidity, and total volatile organic compounds in real-time so facilities managers can react fast to changes that affect IAQ.
Learn More About HVAC Refurbishment
Learn more about how Pure Air Control helps maintain pandemic IAQ. Call 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.