back to blog

How your home AC unit may help protect you from COVID-19

The spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus has fundamentally changed daily life around the globe over the last six months. Bringing to light new anxieties as people search for ways to best stay safe from infection, many wonder how best to prepare their home for what’s next — especially during the cooling season, with rising summer temperatures. What role does an airborne, infectious disease play in a home with central, circulating cooling? Fortunately, homeowner worries can be curbed, as a home’s A/C is considered both safe and, potentially, helpful in preventing COVID-19 spread and infection.

Home A/Cs Help Slow the Spread

According to guidance from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), “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.”

Bryant air purifier

This guidance from ASHRAE — that disabling heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems is not recommended to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 — falls in-line with both CDC and WHO recommendations around stopping and slowing the spread of the virus. As part of the residential guidance provided by the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, ASHRAE further notes that they recommend optimal temperatures in residential homes be kept at “normal thermal comfort conditions” within the range of 68–78oF, and relative humidity of 40–60%. To provide a greater degree of protection, increased home ventilation is encouraged, as well as regular operation of bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and home air-cleaning or air-purifying devices.

How Does the A/C Help?

So long as a home is properly ventilated, continuing to run the air-conditioning helps by utilizing the filters within the HVAC system. The recommendations suggest upgrading these filters to high-efficiency filters (those with a MIRV rating of 14–16, but no higher), as these filters are rated to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns. Running the A/C forces the air within a home through these filters, catching and trapping multiple particles — dust, dander, mold spores, and, most importantly, microorganisms — within the filter’s fibers, cleaning the air as it runs through the vents. 

There should be some caution taken about installing high-efficiency filters with a MIRV rating of 16+, insomuch that these filters are physically thicker and denser — thus, why they’re more effective — but so much so that they prevent in-home airflow unless the home’s HVAC system is designed to work with these filters. Be sure to check the HVAC equipment instructions, or check with an HVAC professional, before installing these filters.

Day by day, the forecast for COVID-19 is changing. Whether the needs for caution will continue ramping up, or restrictions will continue slowly being lifted, only time can tell, but until then, it’s always better to be on the safe side. Utilize the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force guidance for residential spaces and homes, and if questions arise, or if homeowners need help with their HVAC systems to ensure they’re running properly this cooling season, reach out to experts such as the licensed professionals at Duane Blanton Family Home Services. For over 30 years, the technicians at Duane Blanton have been providing quality, knowledge service, and their expertise is available to homeowners throughout Round Lake and the surrounding areas. Give Duane Blanton Family Home Services a call, at (815) 781-2567, or schedule an appointment online, through their convenient online scheduling portal.

Dave, Mike & Matt were our guys from estimate to installation. All of our workers did amazing work. They were on time, worked efficiently, explained…

Britni S.

Mike and Tim were a great help with my water heater issue. They went over what the problem was, what the solutions were, and did…

Eric B.

Very friendly phone operators. Professional workers. Arrived very quickly and it wasn’t even a serious emergency. Very good communication throughout the whole process with every…

Danielle D.

These guys are WONDERFUL! Especially if you have an older home and old pipes. We have the service package that covers pipes, boiler (heating) and…

Lisa M.

We had water coming through our kitchen ceiling and someone was able to come out same day and identify the problem. Michael B and Aaron…

Meaghan D.
Translate »