Besides the obvious reasons for the importance of clean air, recently, the necessity has become even more evident as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic. Evidence confirms that the virus remains in the air and can travel thus infecting others. Being in close contact, less than 6ft, can infect and contaminate people. Due to the need to stay indoors and limit interactions through social distancing, steps need to be taken to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of Covid-19.
Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC)
Fresh air is essential to staying healthy. The heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) of homes and buildings needs to be taken into consideration to maximize the healthy air we are breathing and ensure our safety. The EPA recommends increasing ventilation with outdoor air. Ensuring proper ventilation with outside air can help reduce the concentration of airborne contaminants, including viruses, indoors. The ventilation rate should be based on the number of people that occupy an indoor space. The more people, the more air that is needed.
Recent evidence from China, Italy, England and the United States suggests that exposure to air pollution may play a role in Covid-19 incidence and deaths. The findings suggested that a potentially large association exists between the exposure to air pollution and population levels. Traffic related air pollution is associated with many respiratory illnesses. Age, race and ethnicity and other sociodemographic characteristics appear to impact the rates, severity and associated deaths.
What this means for New York & New Jersey residents
In general, increasing ventilation and filtration is usually appropriate; however, due to the complexity and diversity of homes, building types, sizes, construction styles, HVAC system components, and other building features, a professional should interpret ASHRAE guidelines for their specific building and circumstances. See ASHRAE for more information on ventilation rates for different types of buildings and other important engineering controls to manage ventilation, moisture, and temperature in a building or home. NY and NJ residents can contact our office for these services.
As the pandemic continues, please be mindful of the simple things we take for granted such as fresh air. The mere act of breathing is truly a blessing not to be ignored.