As the province of Ontario begins to reopen the economy, many businesses are retrofitting their office spaces for the post-COVID return to work. Apart from just layout changes in the office and enhanced safety barriers, indoor air quality is a key factor in the post-coronavirus playbook.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, we know that COVID-19 is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can remain detectable in the air for as long as three hours, but can also survive on surfaces from as little as a few hours to potentially several days.
With this in mind, proper ventilation in office buildings and indoor workplaces must be ensured to help prevent the spread of this airborne disease. Businesses owners and employers should focus on these three areas when implementing safety protocols and mitigating risk:
- how your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are working to circulate air,
- people themselves,
- and contact surfaces.
Increase Your Supply of Fresh Air
Increasing air supply dilutes contaminants and improves air quality, creating a pleasant environment for returning office and warehouse workers. Maintaining positive pressure inside your office or warehouse is critical as having positive pressure means that the air pressure inside is higher than it is outside. This pushes air from the inside to the outside, eliminating “bad” or contaminated air. It also has the benefit of making your other systems more efficient. The air handler unit of the heating and cooling system should keep your pressure at the proper level; our experts will ensure this is the case at your facility.
Change Your HVAC System Filters Often
Regular filter changing should be part of any regular building maintenance plan. Although HVAC equipment contains filters to catch dust and particles, it’s critical that these be maintained in the long term. Over time, the filters can get dirty and clogged, and eventually lose efficiency and effectiveness.
TRI-AIR Systems recommends replacing them with a good quality filter on a routine, frequent schedule. HEPA filters are proven to remove viruses, relevant-size particles and droplets, and high MERV rated filters can remove 90 to 95% of bacteria and small particulates. Whatever these top-level filters cannot remove, ultraviolet light does the rest.
Replace Your Old HVAC Units
If you were thinking of replacing your old commercial or industrial HVAC unit, now is the ideal time.
Air conditioners and heat pumps (both commercial and residential) have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, while furnaces can last around 15 to 20 years. If your unit is on the older side, this is the perfect opportunity to upgrade to new, energy efficient system.
Particularly in many older buildings, ventilation systems may not meet today’s minimum standards. Getting a new system up and running before your employees return will not only save you money in the long run, but help improve the ventilation of your building and protect the health and safety of employees.
Air Handler Units (AHU) and Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)
Another way to clean your air within your air handler unit (AHU) is to install quality filters with an ultraviolet germicidal irradiation light. UVGI is a disinfection method that uses short wavelength ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by damaging their DNA at the cellular level. This air disinfection method can be used for a variety of infectious diseases, and can be effective in preventing viruses from recirculating in the air.
More importantly, in most buildings, while filters can help improve indoor air quality, other public health measures such as social distancing and hand-washing remain equally as important and should be done in conjunction with HVAC upgrades.
Contact the Air Quality Experts at TRI-AIR Today!
It’s important for businesses to spend time creating a healthy indoor environment for their workers. Don’t wait for your team to return to the office, start retrofitting your office building today!
With over 40 years of professional HVAC experience, the experts at TRI-AIR can help improve your indoor air quality and prepare your workplace for the new normal.
Contact us today to schedule an inspection and testing of your HVAC system to make sure it is working according to specifications for building use and occupancy.
Call Now! (905) 470-2424