The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light a series of important considerations for duty holders in commercial premises regarding air quality and the transmission of airborne pathogens around offices, workshops, schools, shops, restaurants, and other public-facing areas.
As a result of the pandemic, air quality has become a central issue in corporate health and safety. Many business used the mandatory closures in 2020 and 2021 to improve and upgrade their ventilation systems before staff and customers returned. Although airborne diseases are less of an issue during the summer months, a resurgence of Covid 19 in the autumn, alongside the usual seasonal illnesses, cannot be discounted.
Early summer is a good time of year to arrange an inspection and deep clean of your ventilation systems and air ducts.
Regular maintenance is just as important when it comes to reducing transmission of the Covid-19 virus and other airborne pathogens, as it is for keeping on top of mould spores, dirt particles, and other potential allergens that reduce indoor air quality.
Key Facts About Air Conditioning Systems And Disease Transmission
Air conditioning and ventilation systems contribute far more to the transmission of airborne illnesses and to the reduction of transmission risk that the average person realises. This is mainly due to how these systems work.
Essentially, an aircon system enables an exchange of stale indoor air with fresh air drawn from outside the building. To do this, the system circulates air by moving it in and out of a room or building through a series of filters. Air is not the only thing circulated around an indoor environment since any particles carried by air will also move around the room.
Those particles include dust, airborne pollutants from car exhausts, hair, skin particles, and pollen, as well as live pathogens like viruses and bacteria. When someone coughs or sneezes in a room, or even breathes in a room for a sustained amount of time, the tiny moisture droplets that are created are circulated through the entire ventilation system, which can spread the droplets to other areas of an indoor setting. Thus it is possible to catch Covid or another illness from a colleague in a completely different part of the building to you – through the vector of the building’s air conditioning system.
Because ventilation systems bring outdoor air and potential pathogens into indoor environments, closed spaces can be up to ten times more contaminated than outdoor areas.
How Do You Reduce The Risk Of Indoor Airborne Disease Transmission?
Of course, the facts mentioned above don’t mean that ventilation systems are necessarily a health hazard. This is only true if the ducts and filters are not cleaned regularly and effectively. An effective air conditioning and ventilation system can actually reduce the risk of indoor transmission by removing airborne pathogens from the air before they accumulate. The key to reducing airborne disease transmission in shops, restaurants, and offices, is making sure that crucial components like filters and air ducts are clean to enable as much air flow as possible.
Keeping air ducts clean is especially important in venues visited by vulnerable individuals, such as hospitals, care homes, and schools. But to be clear, in the current scenario of heightened awareness about airborne illnesses, all commercial and public-facing premises can benefit from an upgraded air duct cleaning schedule.
An air duct that is thoroughly and frequently cleaned will continuously refresh the indoor air supply, removing viruses from the air and from surfaces (e.g. desks and serving counters) before they have a chance to become contaminated. This is worth considering in workplaces, as it can prevent staff shortages due to sickness and reduced productivity – presenteeism– during the winter.
At Europa Ventilation Cleaning Services. we provide specialised air duct cleaning for commercial premises, as well as complementary disinfection services, such as Covid-19 fogging. Please feel free to download our brochure to find out more or contact us directly to request a bespoke quote.
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