Our experts at Ainsworth worked with our Vice President of Business Development, Steve Horwood, to answer questions about heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), to provide information to participants during BOMA Canada’s Prepare your building for back to work webinar. 

Steve first talked about some ways you can ensure the highest level of health and safety when it comes to HVAC. While there is no conclusive data to confirm that COVID-19 can be transmitted through HVAC systems, Steve shared some simple things you can do for additional safety through proper maintenance and compatibility of filters. 

Increasing fresh air intake in a building prior to return is a great way to give occupants peace of mind when re-entering. Steve says you should ensure your system has been maintained as recommended so it can handle the the restart and re-occupancy. You should identify areas with poor ventilation or inappropriate pressure as this can affect the ventilation of your building. As an extra precaution, you should perform your manufacturers recommended spring start-up, and make sure that your system is clean and performing optimally. 

One thing to note is that while contaminated droplets do not circulate within the HVAC system (as they are too large), drafty air from an HVAC system can push droplets beyond the recommended social distancing space. If you are having reports of drafty air from your occupants, you should consult with your maintenance provider.  

One way to give peace of mind to occupants is installing a filter in your system that is smaller than the droplets that carry COVID-19. While MERV 13+ is recommended for effectively capturing airborne viruses, not all HVAC systems can handle this level of filter. Steve says you must verify that your selected filter meets the operation requirement of your system, and that it fits in your system properly. 

As usual, verifying that your system’s pressure, temperatureand humidity are at the right levels is an important step to re-opening your building safely. Above all else, Steve says consulting with your maintenance provider is the most important step. You can see the entire webinar here: https://vimeo.com/415257077 

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