Properly maintained HVAC systems can help limit spread of coronavirus, experts say

Research shows the importance of proper measures to ensure HVAC systems don’t spread  COVID-19.

A video from the University of Oregon shows a person infected with the coronavirus sneezing. Air conditioning spreads the virus particles around the room, eventually infecting several other people.

In the age of the coronavirus, experts say it's more important than ever to take the proper precautions with your HVAC system. This means lots of filtering and bringing-in plenty of outside air.
“To minimize the transmission risk, you can increase filtration, outside air fraction. Those are great techniques that probably most buildings can have modest upgrades without major renovation,” said Prof. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, with the University of Oregon.

Prof. William Bahnfleth from Pennsylvania State University said there was a list of steps engineers should take to make air conditioning safe.

“The main way a building can have problems is if it doesn't have a good supply of outside air.”
Bahnfleth cited a case in China where a bad AC system spread the virus.

“Over that period of time the concentration of infectious particles in the air built-up to the point where nine people at the table the infected person was sitting at and two tables next to his group became infected.”
Volusia County is taking further steps, they're installing ultraviolet light filters in their buildings' HVAC systems to kill viruses. Researchers said it was also a good idea.

“For most buildings, probably looking at the level of filters that are in place, trying to maximize that, trying to do as much as you can to maximize the outdoor air is where I'd look first, but yes, the UV radiation may be able to help,” Raynor said.

Despite these steps, these experts agreed no HVAC system was 100 percent safe and stressed the importance of wearing a mask and observing proper social distancing guidelines.