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What You Need to Know About the Link Between Ventilation, HVAC, and COVID-19

stay home stay safe

This week, Ontario cautiously begins the process of reopening with a slight expansion of businesses allowed to resume operations.

But as for the pandemic itself, it is still very much encouraged that we maintain social distancing to protect ourselves and others.

This is the time when you may feel the most tempted to take some risks, such as slacking off with wearing your mask and gloves while out and about.

But newly published research suggests that the highest risk may be lurking in a place you might not even think to look - your HVAC system.

In this article, learn what we now know about how COVID-19 may spread through HVAC systems and what a group of researchers here in Canada are doing to fix it.

The Research Studies That Shocked the Health Care Industry

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published the results of a research study that investigated how the first 10 cases of COVID-19 developed.

Chinese researchers carefully studied every aspect of the restaurant where the index patient (the first patient known to have contracted COVID-19) ate dinner the night the outbreak began.

They studied seating charts and carefully evaluated how nine other restaurant patrons might have come into contact with COVID-19 germs from the index patient.

Until this study was published, health researchers had believed this new novel coronavirus could spread only by close contact (within two metres). But analysis clearly showed that some of the diners who later developed COVID-19 were seated too far away to be infected through this type of close contact.

These findings implicated an unlikely suspect in transmitting coronavirus germs farther distances - the restaurant's HVAC ventilation system.

A group of Australian researchers took a different approach, by studying past pandemics and how virus particles were transmitted and spread.

They, too, concluded that CoV-SARS-2, the new novel coronavirus, could potentially be spread through HVAC ventilation systems.

Right here in Canada, a third group of researchers also came to the same conclusion using yet another set of data.

The Canadian researchers applied their knowledge of mechanical engineering principles to explain how HVAC ventilation systems could potentially aid coronavirus germs in travelling farther than two metres.

All three research groups agree: HVAC ventilation systems are a threat that need to be addressed in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. But what does this mean for you?

Your HVAC Ventilation Can Be Your Ally in Staying Safe and Healthy

The bad news is that the coronavirus can potentially spread from one end of a home or building in the time it takes an infected person to cough and the furnace or air conditioner to cycle on.

The good news is there is a lot that can be done to make sure coronavirus germs never make it to the other end of that home or building.

Modern HVAC and indoor-air-quality technology has evolved to the point at which we are able to outfit research laboratories and high-risk health care facilities with intensely effective tools to filter and purify the air.

The vast majority of homes and commercial buildings do not currently have this level of technology installed. But it can certainly be done, and all three groups of researchers - Chinese, Australian, and Canadian - are arguing that it should be done to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Meet the Ventilation, Filtration, and Purification Tools You Need Now

There are three essential indoor HVAC accessories you can use right now to keep your HVAC ventilation system from trapping and transmitting coronavirus particles to people in other parts of your space.

1. Heat recovery ventilator

The heat recovery ventilator is a neat appliance that recycles otherwise wasted heat energy, balances indoor humidity, and - most importantly - removes stale and potentially toxic indoor air continually through a separate, dedicated exhaust channel.

2. HEPA air filtration system

The HEPA air filtration system is the highest grade of air filtration modern technology has produced. These incredibly dense air filters can trap particles as small as 1/100th the size of a single human hair before they can enter your ventilation system.

3. Ultraviolet purification system

You may have already been reading a lot about ultraviolet (UV) light purifiers. A concentrated synthetic short-wave version of the sun's ultraviolet light band C is used to damage organic toxins like virus germs so they cannot spread. The light neutralizes these toxins before they can enter your ventilation system to cause harm.

While the spread of coronavirus particles through water is a lesser concern, there are also ultraviolet water purifiers that can achieve the same effect to neutralize waterborne organic toxins on contact.

COVID-19 Special Offers: Financing and Rebates to Help You

We understand that many of our valued customers are coping with work interruption and uncertainty during these unprecedented times.

But sometimes HVAC outages, plumbing problems, water-heater failures, and indoor air quality upgrades just won't wait until life goes back to normal.

If this describes your situation, we are here to help.

We have put together a special selection of financing and rebate offers to make getting the essential services you need more affordable.

Right now, get zero payment with zero interest on all repair quotes and financing on any services over $2,000. We are also offering in-house financing through FinanceIt to make sure you can stay safe and comfortable during this difficult time.

Visit our COVID-19 Financing and Rebates page to learn about these special aids.

Get in Touch

As the shelter-in-place order continues, our staff is working remotely for your safety and ours. However, we are still open for business as an essential service and here to serve you.

Read our notice about COVID-19 and how to contact us for routine or urgent service.

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up to receive Chip’s Tips by email each month - it's free!

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