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HVAC Systems Don’t Spread COVID-19

REHVA, the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations, has issued a six-page COVID-19 guidance document, “How to operate and use building services in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) virus (SARS-CoV-2) in workplaces.”

The white paper recommends extending operating times of HVAC systems and preferably keep them running 24 hours a day. The systems should provide as much outside air as possible. Central recirculation should be avoided and, because the virus can live on surfaces, rotating enthalpy wheels should be turned off. Duct cleaning is ineffective and not recommended.

Operation of HVAC and humidification equipment has little practical effect on the virus, the paper says.

Transmission of some viruses in buildings can be limited by changing air temperatures and humidity levels. In the case of COVID-19 this is unfortunately not an option as the SARS-CoV-2 virus is quite resistant to environmental changes and is susceptible only for a very high relative humidity above 80% and a temperature above 30°C, which are not attainable and acceptable in buildings for other reasons (e.g. thermal comfort).

With the approach of springtime, humidification systems should be turned off anyway, the paper notes.

 
 
 
 
 
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Beginning with basic theory and extending to complex troubleshooting, training courses covering refrigeration and air conditioning, heating, electricity, controls, heat pumps and safety may be conducted in a classroom environment or though self study. RSES publications may be purchased by schools, contractors, manufacturers or any other industry group wanting to conduct comprehensive training programs. Seminars covering air conditioning troubleshooting, electrical troubleshooting, compressor training, condenser training, refrigerant piping practices, DDC controls, and more are held in various cities across North America.

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