15 Nov COVID and ventilation
How ventilation can help prevent COVID infections
Improving your home ventilation for health and wellbeing
If, like us, you’ve just spent over 100 days in lockdown in Sydney, taking steps to protect your loved ones from COVID is probably top of mind. As well as strategies like vaccination, social distancing, face masks and rigourous hygiene practices, ventilation is also important.
COVID-19 is an airborne virus. This means circulating lots of fresh air can help to reduce virus transmission within a building, whether that’s your home, workplace or a school.
The NSW government says that “open or well-ventilated spaces reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 because infectious particles are more quickly diffused in the open air than in spaces with less ventilation.” Outdoor settings, with good natural air flow, are generally considered to be safer with a lower risk of transmission.
Indoor spaces are the highest risk setting for disease spread, especially in our homes. Why? Well, let’s face it, we might be a bit more relaxed about things at home than we are in public spaces like restaurants and shops.
That’s why ventilation can play a key role. But it’s not always practical to open all your windows. In some buildings, particularly office blocks, it’s not possible. Even at home, on days with extreme weather, whether that’s cold, heat or rain, having the windows open to enhance ventilation and airflow can result in physical discomfort.
So, what’s the answer?
How a home ventilation system can help
Ventilation systems can help to keep fresh air moving through your home, even if the doors and windows are closed. A solution like positive input ventilation is a whole-home system that keeps fresh, filtered air entering your home at a continuous rate. This means you can filter indoor and outdoor air pollutants, reduce dust mites and mould spores, and generally improve your family’s health.
Positive input ventilation systems are suitable for all types of homes, including units and houses with no roof space. These can be set to work continuously or on a timer (perfect for when you want constant fresh air to reduce the risk of virus transmission).
It’s also important to consider how your home air conditioning system is set up. Many ducted and split system air conditioners typically recirculate air inside a space. If you have your home’s doors and windows closed because the air conditioning is running, this can mean you have the same air circulating for hours. To prevent this a ventilation system can work in conjunction with your air conditioning to supply the fresh air, while your air conditioner provides a comfortable temperature.
Portable air purifiers with a HEPA filter may also be an appropriate consideration. It’s important to note that air purifiers need to be matched to the size of the room and multiple units may be required. A whole home system could end up being a more cost-effective option compared to buying several air purifiers.
Remember, ventilation isn’t a complete answer. It’s still important to practice social distancing, wearing masks and frequent handwashing. If you’re having visitors to your home, using outdoor spaces as much as practical is a good idea too.
Ensuring fresh, healthy air
As well as opening doors and windows (when possible), it’s a good idea to:
- Avoid directing fans towards people’s faces – point them to the ceiling or the floor instead, and limit oscillation
- Give your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system a clean and book a maintenance check if it’s been a while – as well as basic maintenance, the World Health Organization also suggests replacing filters with MERV14/F8 or highest compatible filter
- Avoid using recirculated air and increase the outside air intake
- Disable any settings that automatically turn off air supply based on temperature or occupancy – you want to keep systems running for maximum air flow.
Do you want to see how your home’s air health can be improved?
We offer a free home assessment (within the Sydney metro area) to check your home’s ventilation and to provide quotes on a range of ventilation systems to help increase your air flow. Phone us on 02 9427 8800 to make a booking.