As custodians and building service providers labor to keep school surfaces clean and disinfected to protect building inhabitants from COVID-19, they need to remember the SARS-CoV-2 virus is also spread through the air. Proper care and maintenance of HVAC systems in school facilities is beneficial in stopping airborne spread of the coronavirus.
Seth Ferriell, CEO of SSC Services, offers several tips to set up the air conditioning systems in your school facilities.
- Increase the amount of fresh air coming into the facility to at least 15% fresh air and 85% recycled air. “If your equipment allows, change the air eight times each hour,” Ferriell said.
- Increase the filtration on your air conditioning system to catch smaller particles. Check the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) on your filters to determine their effectiveness. MERV values range from 1 to 16, with higher values corresponding to a greater percentage of particles captured on each pass.
- Consider installing an air system that includes an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system or is compatible to a UV system. This UV light will kill viruses as they pass through the air system.
- Consider installing bipolar ionization technology. This HVAC technology releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate harmful substances like bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses.
- Look into dry hydrogen peroxide (DHP) technology, which uses humidity and oxygen naturally present in the environment to create a safe level of hydrogen peroxide gas, which reduces unwanted microbes, such as bacteria and viruses, in the air and on surfaces.