HVAC filters and COVID-19 – what you need to know

As more information becomes available about COVID-19 and how to prevent or slow its spread, we continue to seek ways to stay safe. First, the recommendation was hand washing and sanitizing. Then, we learned about social distancing. Now, we know that COVID-19 can be spread in the air we breathe. Masks are a helpful defense, but what about HVAC filters and COVID-19? Can our home HVAC systems filter the particles that contain COVID-19?

HVAC Filters and COVID-19

According to the Environmental Protection Association (EPA), we can’t rely on HVAC filters alone to eradicate the risk of COVID-19 contaminating our homes. But, when combined with other measures, like sanitizing surfaces and social distancing, using a high-quality filter can be part of the plan to reduce your overall risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. When maintained regularly, high-quality filters do help to trap the particles that contain contaminants, like viruses.

So, we know that filters can help in conjunction with other safety precautions. What else can we do to make our air safer to breathe? The EPA offers four specific recommendations to improve the air quality in your home:

Increase Ventilation with Outside Air

  • Open screened windows and doors to let in fresh air, when the outdoor air quality is safe (and if children and pets aren’t at risk)
  • Use bathroom fans (particularly when someone is using the small space)

Improve Natural Ventilation

  • Create cross-ventilation by opening screened doors and windows that are on opposite sides of a space, but not directly in front of each other (again, only if it’s safe for children, pets, and those impacted by poor air quality)
  • Consider using fans to push air out of a window and draw it in through another
  • Opening the highest and lowest windows (especially when they’re on different floors), can increase ventilation

Use your HVAC SystemImage shows air return vent where air is filtered

  • Keep the fan running often – continuously, when possible
  • Filters only process the air when the fan is running
  • Purchase the highest quality filter your system can accommodate

Use a portable air cleaner or air purifier

  • Place in a space where you spend the most time or where a vulnerable person spends time
  • Direct the airflow so that it does not blow directly from one person to another

It’s important to make sure your HVAC system is properly maintained so that it can be part of your COVID-19 safety plan. For information about preventive maintenance, filters, etc. please contact the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.