Reducing the Spread of Infectious Diseases with Your HVAC System

Infectious diseases spread by several different routes. Many viruses including influenza, the common cold, and other diseases spread by the airborne route. The spread can be accelerated or controlled by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.  This post explains your HVAC System, its capabilities of controlling the spread of infectious diseases, and how high-output germicidal UVC lamps can help.

In the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)’ position document on Airborne Infectious Diseases, they explain how the spread of infectious disease from an infected individual to a susceptible person, known as cross transmission or person-to-person transmission, by small airborne particles that contain microorganisms.  Small particles, which stay airborne for hours at a time and can be transported long distances and can be transported through ventilation systems.

Your HVAC System – The Lungs of Your Home

HVAC Diagram

The HVAC system in your home are the lungs of the building.  While the system is operating, it is “breathing in” through the return air vents and “breathing out” through the supply air vents.  Having proper air flow in a building can help control the spread of airborne contaminants by drawing the air and airborne particles into the HVAC system and preventing it from lingering in the space.  What happens from there will depend on how your HVAC system has been designed and what type of filtration and air cleaning equipment you are using.

Furnace filters are rated based on their minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) and is a scale from 1-16.  The higher the MERV rating, the finer the particulate can be blocked by the filter.  A MERV 6 filter can block lint, household dust, and pollen.  While a MERV 13+ filter can block contaminants such as bacteria and viruses.  When looking at this, you may immediately think that you should just go and buy the highest possible MERV filter.  However, MERV 13 filters will not work with most HVAC systems due to air flow resistance.  The furnace filters with a high MERV chokes the furnace of air, reduces air circulation, decreased indoor air quality, and potentially damage to the furnace.  Often a MERV 8 filter is a good safe bet as a middle ground.

Control the Spread of Germs and Viruses with High-Output Germicidal UVC Lamps

ContaminantsControl of seasonal influenza has for decades relied on large-droplet (large droplets from a sneeze or cough that fall to the ground within 1.2 meters).  However, there is evidence suggesting a far greater importance for airborne transmission by small particles.  Small particles have the opportunity to be spread by your HVAC system without the proper precautions.

In addition to standard daily hygiene practices, you can be proactive by adding high-output UVC lamp to your HVAC system to purify the air without the pressure drop risk associated with a high MERV rated standard filter.  With a a high-output UVC lamp installed into the ductwork of the HVAC System, you can sterilize airborne viruses, bacteria, and germs as they pass by lamps rendering them harmless and incapable of reproducing.  This is the same technology that is used to prevent the spread of viruses in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Modern PURAIR® can provide you with the same equipment that is used in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.  For more information or to receive a free quote contact Modern PURAIR or call us at 1.800.996.3878.   Our high-output germicidal UVC lamps kill or deactivate airborne viruses, bacteria, germs and other bioaerosols that travel through your HVAC system and recirculate throughout your home.