The number one theme of 2020?
The best ways to mitigate the speed of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
To date, much of the American COVID-mitigation strategy has focused on specific elements. This includes hand-washing, mask-wearing, and physical distancing.
But, there are other important strategies that go on behind the scenes. One of the most effective yet lesser-talked-about means is through proper ventilation.
Just before the end of 2020, the CDC released its official ventilation guidelines. This is the first-ever comprehensive guide published by this government agency.
The organization encourages the implementation of these recommendations. Data shows that this will help mitigate the spread of COVID in interior spaces.
These are the most dangerous area for spreading COVID, due to lack of airflow. This makes the transmission of viral particles significantly more likely.
With this new publication, the CDC helps to cement some of these recommendations. It encourages all public-facing interior spaces to take note.
Read on for more information on what these CDC guidelines entail.
CDC Guidelines for COVID Ventilation
These guidelines were strongly influenced by ASHRAE. This stands for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. ASHRAE is the noted authority in the HVAC field.
It’s important to note that with the high number of COVID cases, these measures are more necessary than ever.
It’s true the COVID vaccine is in the distribution process. But, it will take a while for most Americans to receive both rounds. After that, it will take a period of time before herd immunity is established.
In the meantime, it’s up to public or other high-traffic areas to do their part in mitigating the spread of COVID.
Of course, ventilation alone can't completely remove the risk of spreading the virus. But, employing a layered approach can keep the risks as low as possible. This includes using many ways of ventilation to remove viral particles from the air.
Additionally, it includes well-known methods like:
- Face mask use
- Consistent hand-washing
- Physical distancing
- Avoiding non-essential indoor spaces
- Increased testing
- Increased COVID vaccine coverage
- Quarantine of exposed individuals
- Safeguarding vulnerable persons
- Postponing travel
The CDC is calling on Americans to put in place as many of these factors as possible. Commercial spaces are much of the same. With these factors plus ventilation, interior units can limit contribution to the spread.
The official recommendation guide helps to make these procedures as clear as possible. They include a rehashing of information that has already been announced. Plus, new and more specific guidelines are announced as well.
Reiterating Previous Guidance
Many of the practices outlined in the report are not new. They have been documented CDC Coronavirus prevention measures since the pandemic's beginning.
This includes strategies like:
- Increasing outdoor ventilation to inside spaces
- Supplementing ventilation systems with window fans blowing outwards
- Ensuring all HVAC systems are operating at proper specifications
- Ensuring HVAC components are not cracked/malfunctioning to allows air recirculation
The CDC reaffirmed this information, plus new recommendations.
Introducing New Specifications
Besides reiterating these recommendations, the CDC COVID ventilation guidelines also outlined new strategies.
Some of these new recommendations focus on adjusting operating parameters for common equipment. This includes:
- Opening outdoor air dampers in mild weather to reduce air recirculation
- Encouraging ambient airflow to travel in one direction by re-positioning supply and exhaust air diffusers and dampers
Additionally, the CDC gets more specific on favorable technology guidelines.
The use of air filters is especially important in ventilating high-risk areas. This includes portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) systems within all HVAC systems.
The CDC also recommends the use of ultraviolet germicidal lights in duct systems.
This technology is proven to kill viral COVID particles within HVAC systems. These are also beneficial for their portability and localized air cleaning abilities.
The Effect of Proper Ventilation
Though most recommendations only need small changes, they can have major effects.
These guidelines can easily be applied in high-traffic areas. There are a variety of budget options to achieve these goals.
Some of these strategies come at little to no cost. This includes:
- Opening windows and doors wherever possible
- Repositioning existing fans closer to windows to increase airflow
- Turning off thermostat-controlled ventilation systems
- Keeping fans on constantly
Other strategies, though, do need a greater sacrifice of time, money, and effort. The exact specifications of these strategies will depend on various factors. This includes the building, occupancy, and the activities occurring in the space.
Yet, even minor ventilation improvements can help an interior space’s ability to slow the spread. If properly implemented, these strategies help reduce the air concentration of viral particles.
They can be extremely effective in preventing an outbreak at your location. This is especially true when taken in conjunction with other, non-HVAC-related strategies.
Some of these techniques build on existing equipment. Others may need full upgrades to replace outdated systems. But just because this equipment is essential, does not mean they it is always cheap.
Times are already tough for many struggling businesses. Cutting costs is needed wherever possible. As such, it’s best to shop around for your ventilation and air purification parts and equipment.
Doing an extra bit of research can ensure you are paying the lowest prices for high-quality equipment.
Applying the CDC Ventilation Guidelines
Indoor spaces pose a significantly higher risk of transmitting viral particles. This is due to the lack of the dissipating effects of the wind.
With this in mind, public spaces and other high-traffic areas must commit to proper ventilation to mitigate the spread of COVID.
The CDC will continue to track the COVID-19 situation. In conjunction with ASHRAE, they are the best source to track changes in COVID ventilation guidelines.
When sourcing the best HVAC parts and equipment to follow CDC recommendations, be sure to look for the trusted source. Technical Hot and Cold Parts is here to support all your HVAC needs.
For more information on what you need to improve ventilation in your space, contact us today!