Coronavirus Home Safety: Fighting COVID-19 with Good Home Ventilation
The arrival of the Coronavirus at the beginning of 2020 quite literally turned the whole world upside down. Lockdown measures were introduced, forcing many businesses to close – or at least change their way of working – and this forced millions of people to spend more time in their homes than ever before.
When lockdown restrictions have been lifted, businesses have had to focus on adapting their buildings to ensure that they are creating the safest environment possible – and this means good ventilation.
However, as we pointed out above, temporary measures means that many people remain at home. Whilst businesses usually have comprehensive heating and air conditioning systems to regulate the temperature and quality of the air in their spaces, it’s not often that home ventilation is so well thought-out.
This means that Coronavirus home safety can be far less robust than it is in commercial places – even though commercial buildings house more people.
Fresh air is the best air.
Most, if not all ventilation systems (air conditioning, heating systems, whole house fans, attic fans – whatever) are designed to serve the same purpose: clean the air and regulate the temperature. The more fresh air we can bring from the outside, in, the better the quality of the air inside a building will be.
In businesses or commercial buildings, the main source of external air is through the large man-made systems installed to serve that exact purpose. In stark contrast, the main source of external air in homes comes from windows, doors and other architectural features of the building itself.
If businesses are doing it right, why haven’t we done so well in our homes?
Okay, first of all – slow down. We didn’t say businesses are doing it right, we just said that they have readily available systems already in place, whereas most homes don’t tend to be so well equipped.
Ventilation in businesses generally tends to be better because they require industrial machinery to constantly circulate the air. The systems are bigger, more powerful and built to service a larger space than the air conditioning units or fans that you might buy to improve home ventilation.
This is necessary because there are laws and regulations in place which apply to the temperature of the air in workplaces, so employers have to be very careful to ensure that they are adhering to these guidelines.
What do we mean by good quality air?
Coronavirus - like many others - is an airborne illness. This means that the primary means of transmission is through the air. And, without pointing out the obvious, we need to ensure that the ventilation in any building we’re in is effective enough to reduce the likelihood of breathing in contaminated air if we’re looking to reduce the risk of transmission.
Experts suggest that the air inside a building should be changed six times per hour, based on 3-4 people being present in a ten-foot by ten-foot room. This refers to the amount of times the air inside the building should be entirely replaced by fresh air from outside the building - and actually was applicable before the Coronavirus outbreak. From this, we can conclude that we’d expect that this air exchange should be more frequent now that the air is more “polluted” with COVID-19 germs.
The WHO (World Health Organisation) and the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) have both made it very clear that poor ventilation increases the risk of transmission, so it’s never been more important to focus on home ventilation systems to reduce this risk.
Okay, I understand what needs to happen, but how do I translate this into an effective Coronavirus home safety plan?
Well, we sure are glad you asked, because we’ve got all the answers. Well; we’ve got some answers. Perhaps not all of them.
Being ventilation experts – home and commercial – we’re pretty well qualified give you a few pointers when it comes to ensuring that your home is (and stays) your safe place to return to each day. We’re not scientists, but we’ve done our research and here’s some of the top ways you can ensure that you’re reducing the risk of transmission in your own homes.
- Home ventilation is key. It would be silly not to start with this given that we know so much about this particular subject. But, luckily for us, this is actually one of the top ways you can keep the air in your home as unpolluted as possible. A great way to do this is to invest in a whole house fan which works by drawing fresh, cool air through open windows and doors (which you’ve been advised to have anyway!) and forcing hot, polluted air up to the attic and out through air vents mounted in the attic space. It mounts between your living space and attic and improves home ventilation through direct air replacement.
- Hand washing is still saving lives. If there’s one piece of advice that’s been consistent throughout the pandemic, it’s washing your hands. Even before the President kindly told us to inject bleach if we wanted to “disinfect” ourselves (is 2020 even real?), hand washing has been – and continues to be – a sure fire way to keep the germs at bay. You should also avoid touching your face where possible.
- Whilst not safe for human consumption, bleach is still helpful. We can’t quite believe we’ve even had to make that disclaimer, but here we are. All jokes aside, regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched is another great prevention for the spreading of illnesses – Coronavirus and otherwise. But remember: cleaning products can contain harmful chemicals, so it’s even more important that you ensure your home ventilation systems are up to scratch.
Unfortunately we can’t help you with bleach or hand soap, but we do have an extensive range of whole house fans if you’re ready to give your home ventilation the TLC it needs at this crazy time.