HVAC and Airborne Viruses: Separating Fact from Fiction

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Environmental Protection Agency have brought attention to the fact that indoor HVAC systems can affect airborne viruses. This concern has come even further to the forefront as the country and the entire world navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, let’s look at some common misconceptions in addition to some truths that deserve more exposure. We want to help you separate the facts from the fiction. Fact: Ventilation Can Distribute Airborne Viruses A ventilation system can certainly distribute some airborne viruses throughout a home. However, this does not apply to all airborne viruses. Distribution occurs more with germs that can be transmitted through aerosols. In such cases, inadequate ventilation can exacerbate the situation because, just as with pollution particles, those aerosols will accumulate over time. On the other hand, strong ventilation or even natural ventilation, such as opening a window, can mitigate this buildup by introducing fresh air. Fiction: Strong Ventilation Alone Is Enough to Combat Airborne Viruses Strong ventilation helps to ensure that virus-laden aerosols do not accumulate and increase your risk of infection. Your greatest risk of exposure, however, is immediate contact. You should socially...

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