Does Air Conditioning Spread Coronavirus?
Does air conditioning spread Coronavirus? This question keeps popping up on social media channels and local news stories. While I’m no medical expert, I am an expert on both air conditioning and indoor air quality. That expertise allows me to answer this question with a definitive, yes…with a caveat. The caveat being, whether or not droplets from an infected person could be somehow sucked into the return air of the air conditioning system. What’s not in question is whether or not the virus is small enough to pass through most filtration systems – we already know it is. In other words, if conditions were right and the virus managed to make its way into the AC’s airstream, there’s little doubt it would be recirculated back out the supply air side of the duct system.
That said, your home air conditioning system could also be utilized to help destroy the coronavirus and other airborne viruses. Well, maybe.
Coronavirus Spreads Through Air Conditioning
Let’s start with a little; “how air conditioning works” 101. Many people believe their air conditioner makes cold air. In fact, your air conditioner doesn’t make anything – it moves energy (heat) from one place to another. Central air conditioners work by removing heat from the conditioned space and moving that heat outside. Notice I didn’t say moving that air outside, I said moving that heat outside. The air the heat was removed from, is the same air recirculated back into the conditioned space it came from. In other words, your air conditioning system could spread the coronavirus (or any airborne contaminant) from room to room – over and over. The air coming out of your AC supply vents is the same air that went into it via the return air grills (vents that lead to your air filter). The only exception being, a home equipped with a ventilation system. Ventilation systems such as Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) remove stale air from the conditioned space and introduce fresh outside air back in after the air is filtered and conditioned through the ventilator.
It’s 115 Degrees in Phoenix Today – I Can’t Turn Off My Air Conditioner!
The National Weather Service has declared an excessive heat warning for Southern & Central Arizona today. Not only are we expected to hit 115°F in Phoenix today – the lowest temperature forecasted this week is 109°F! The idea of turning off our air conditioners possibly poses a greater health risk to our families than Covid-19. The same can be said for many areas of the U.S., after all – it’s mid-July. Turning off our air conditioners just isn’t an option. So, how do we protect ourselves and our families?
Air Purifiers Have Been Proven to Destroy Deadly Viruses & Pathogens
As I mentioned in a few recent articles, you should be leery of any product claiming to eliminate Covid-19. The fact of the matter is, while we’ve known about coronaviruses for many years, the Covid-19 strain is new to the world. No independent studies have conclusively proven to kill or eliminate Covid-19. That said, many studies have proven certain air quality devices can kill similar viruses and pathogens with up to 99.99% effectiveness.
An independent study performed in a controlled environment (an empty boardroom in an office building) did successfully eliminate the coronavirus. The study made use of an ozone-generator and applied a “shock” treatment to the space using high levels of ozone. It’s important to note the levels of ozone introduced into the room made it unsafe for human or animals. However, ozone levels returned to safe levels within a few hours. My company (Magic Touch Mechanical) uses ozone shock treatment to eliminate smoke odors from homes as it’s extremely effective.
While nobody can yet claim their air purifier will destroy the Covid-19 coronavirus, they can claim the health benefits of these devices. This is especially important because the more pathogens and contaminants we remove from our home’s air – the less we breathe into our lungs. Our immune systems can only help us so much. The more contaminants we can kill before our body has to, the more prepared we’ll be for Covid-19 should we be exposed to it.
Utilizing Your Air Conditioner to Kill Viruses
Magic Touch Mechanical has been cleaning the air we breathe in homes and offices for over 23-years. It’s something I’m particularly passionate about as I have an advanced lung disease myself. In my own home I currently use the best air filtration and purification devices on the market today. I use both MERV-16 HEPA air filtration and UVC air purification via the Lennox Pure Air, air purification system. While there are other benefits (especially not having to dust surfaces often), the health benefits to my already compromised lungs are readily apparent. My breathing has improved greatly since first using air quality devices in my home years ago.
At the Magic Touch Mechanical offices in Mesa, AZ we also use air purifiers. More specifically we use PCO (Photocatalytic Oxidation) air scrubbers. Examples of good stand-alone PCO’s on the market include REME Halo, Air Scrubber Plus, and APCO – Fresh Aire Air Purifier. I say stand-alone as the Lennox Pure Air combines PCO technology with HEPA filtration in one device, while these devices are air purifiers only. An effective clean air strategy combines both good air filtration with good air purification. Filtration is used to catch and “trap” airborne contaminants. Air purifiers are meant to kill airborne contaminants which are too small to be be trapped by air filters.
Air Conditioning Spreads Coronavirus – and Spreads Cleaner Air!
We know that air conditioning by its very design can spread coronaviruses. However, we also know our A/C systems can be utilized to clean the air in our homes. Since your air conditioner is constantly recirculating the air, the best thing you can do is utilize it to clean that air! Unlike room air purifiers which only purify the area a few feet around the machine, in-duct air purifiers utilize the air handler blower motor to purify the air in the entire home. Years ago, the maker of the Ionic Breeze was sued and bankrupted for making false claims as to their effectiveness. As they were stand-alone machines that sat in one room, they couldn’t do the job an in-duct air purifier can.
Cleaner Air is 1/3 of What We Offer Phoenix Area Homeowners
On the homepage of our website is a simple summary of what we do at Magic Touch:
Lower Bills. Improved Comfort. Cleaner Air.
As our services and products all revolve around these three “results”, we came up with the simplest way to answer – “What do you guys do”? We offer services that produce the following results; lower power bills, improved comfort, and cleaner indoor air.
Wondering which indoor air quality products are best for your home and family? Give us a call or send us a message! Our call takers will be happy to help set you up an appointment with one of our experts. We have solutions that work with both existing air conditioning units and new/ replacement HVAC systems.
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