If the last 2 years has done anything, it’s revealed just how important hygiene is for the overall health of individuals and the population as a whole. But while we’ve all been focused on making sure we wash our hands and properly clean surfaces, how much thought have you put into the cleanliness of other areas? Like the air in your building, for example?
Air quality isn’t just about keeping Covid-19 out of your lungs. It’s also directly related to things like concentration, mood, performance and better overall health, and improving it can have serious benefits to everyone breathing it. So how do you keep your air quality high and prevent infection? By keeping your HVAC systems clean and well maintained.
Airborne Pathogens And Viruses
One of the most common causes of infection from viruses is the inhalation of contaminated air. For example, speaking, coughing and sneezing can all expel large numbers of ‘aerosols’ (suspensions of solid or liquid particles in the air), which could include viruses and bacteria. The smaller the particles are, the longer they will stay in the air and the further they will travel when expelled. For example, we know that Covid-19 can survive in the air for over 25 minutes before it is dispersed enough to not be infectious.
When exposed to dry air, most of the moisture content in the aerosol will evaporate instantly, making the suspended particles smaller and lighter, able to travel further and survive longer. But both temperature and relative humidity affect the airborne survival of viruses, bacteria and fungi. So by controlling the heat, humidity and airflow within your building, you can significantly reduce the lifespan of viruses and pathogens and protect the people working within.
From The Outside In
Your first line of defence against pathogens and debris getting into the air in your building is to stop it from coming inside in the first place. The simplest way to do this is t ensure that all air intakes in the building have been fitted with a pre-filtration system, containing a filtering media that blocks larger pollutants from entering the building. These systems are actually a fairly standard part of most HVAC systems, as they help improve efficiency and keep it operating at optimum. The thing most people get wrong is not changing this filter media often enough. Since it is responsible for catching all of those bigger pathogens and stopping debris clogging the system, they tend to get filled up quicker than smaller filters and lose their effectiveness. By hiring a company to perform regular routine maintenance tasks like changing filter media, you can dramatically improve your indoor air quality and protect your HVAC equipment at the same time.
Outside health concerns for the people in your building, maintaining good hygiene standards in your HVAC system can also have some commercial benefits. As we mention every week, regular maintenance is key to ensuring your system is working correctly and catching problems while they are small. Cleaning is a part of the HVAC maintenance programme for this exact reason. Without regular cleaning and hygiene checks, your HVAC system could suffer from:
- Condensation forming and pooling on vessels, pipes, equipment, cold surfaces and even floors, causing hazards and damage.
- Corrosion and other damage to buildings, structures, fittings and equipment.
- Bacterial growth and mould, resulting in hygiene issues, spreading infection and compliance difficulties.
- Higher servicing and maintenance costs as a direct result of damage caused by poor hygiene.
The good news is that ongoing HVAC maintenance isn’t an expensive outlay for you, unlike the cost of replacing a full unit, or paying sick leave for employees who are breathing poor quality air. While the cost of replacing a complete system can run into the thousands, maintenance and cleaning of that system will cost a fraction of that and keep your buildings in working order for longer. Not only that, but there is some evidence to suggest that well run HVAC systems could actually save you money in terms of energy and electricity used by your building.
By investing in regular maintenance and cleaning for your HVAC systems you are ensuring lower payouts for repairs, reducing your emergency call-outs (and their charges) and providing a cleaner, more comfortable environment for the people using your building. For advice or help with your long-term HVAC maintenance plan, get in touch with the team today to book your free consultation