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Guide to Commercial HVAC Operation Amid COVID-19 Concerns

people-working-in-officeAs COVID-19 stays on the forefront of everyone’s minds, businesses and their facility managers are looking for guidance to maintain a safe working environment. What are the latest resources available to commercial operations? Our HVAC company in Portland and Beaverton provides the latest information.

3 Resources for Information About Coronavirus and Commercial HVAC System Operations

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, an increasing number of commercial and institutional facilities have begun implementing emergency strategies to halt the virus from affecting occupants and operations. Federal agencies have compiled a wealth of resources to help companies navigate these new emergency plans, from control and prevention, to hazard recognition, to HVAC systems. Here we share three of the latest resources addressing COVID-19 concerns. 

1) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Created in 1970, OSHA’s mission is to set and enforce standards that ensure a safe and healthy workplace environment. This includes providing training, education, and assistance. Since COVID-19 is highly transmissible, making the workplace a potential hazard, OSHA has developed specific coronavirus safety guidelines. OSHA’s COVID-19 resources cover topics like exposure risk in various industries, prepping the workplace, and mandated training. 

2) U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

In the wake of COVID-19, the CDC has assembled new sanitation and safety strategies that focus on infection prevention. The organization has also put together a wealth of information to aid commercial operations in ensuring safe business practices. 

3) American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Formed in 1959, ASHRAE serves as a valuable resource for HVAC and refrigeration professionals. It creates industry guidelines, provides education, and promotes a standard code of ethics. Recently, ASHRAE has released two statements to help clarify the relationship between COVID-19 and HVAC systems.

  • ASHRAE’s Statement on the Transmission of COVID-19:
    Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”
  • ASHRAE’s Statement on the Operation of HVAC Systems During COVID-19:
    Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air. Unconditioned spaces can cause thermal stress to people that may be directly life threatening and that may also lower resistance to infection. In general, disabling of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems is not a recommended measure to reduce the transmission of the virus.”

ASHRAE has also put together an Epidemic Task Force. Their focus is to analyze the relationship between HVAC systems and the spread of diseases in buildings during pandemics. They have published a document on airborne infectious diseases and an Emerging Issues Brief concerning COVID-19 and airborne transmissions. 

What Do ASHRAE’s Findings Suggest?

ASHRAE’s COVID-19 preparedness resources suggest that HVAC filters might help reduce virus transmission and remove other air contaminants, which could have other health consequences. 

Best HVAC Practices for Businesses and Facility Managers

commercial-hvac-inspectionIn order to help reduce potential viral or other air contaminants, it’s imperative that you have your commercial HVAC filtration system inspected. If your air filter is dirty or clogged, it may be circulating polluted air throughout your establishment, creating a safety hazard.

A low-quality air filter, even if it is clean, might not be doing the best job at trapping contaminants. To ensure you have the best filter for your system, consult your local HVAC contractor.  

Local Commercial HVAC System Operation and Maintenance in Portland & Beaverton

If you need expert HVAC advice for your commercial property, contact AAA Heating and Cooling today. Our air filtration professionals, in Portland and Beaverton, can replace your existing air filters, service your HVAC unit, and help you plan a maintenance schedule.