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COVID Effect on Indoor Air Quality

COVID Effect on Indoor Air Quality

Published by Programme B

When it comes to understanding the full impact of COVID around the world we have to look at a number of different features and aspects of the disease. One of those is indoor air quality. Even though most do not even consider the way a disease like this one could affect the quality of the air inside of a building, the truth is that there can be some very serious effects, especially when it comes to the way that indoor air quality could affect others. 

Transmission of COVID

There are a number of things we still do not know about COVID and the way that it can be transmitted. While research seems to suggest that close person-to-person contact is the most common method of spread, it may not be the only way. In fact, in the early stages of learning about the disease, it was believed that it could be contracted by touching an item that someone else had already touched. But there is more research still being conducted that seems to disprove this. 

What we do know is that there is no physical contact required to spread the disease. Rather, it can be spread through the air, as long as the individuals are in close proximity to one another. This means that air quality inside of buildings is important to minimize the potential for spread if someone who has the disease is inside of the area. Because particles can stay in the air for extended periods of time, it’s important to monitor the way air flows through space.

Overall, COVID transmits through person-to-person contact in several different forms:

  • Physical contact
  • Airborne particles
  • Close proximity

Reducing Airborne Transmission

In reducing airborne transmission you want to take a look at several different factors. This includes:

  • Building layout and design
  • Building occupancy
  • Building heating, ventilation and air conditioning


Improve Ventilation

One of the best things that can be done is to increase the ventilation that is currently in the building. This means making sure that airflow is consistent throughout the space so that any contaminated air would be quickly cycled out of the indoor space and through the HVAC system. This would also include additional filtering of the air in the building.

It’s not enough simply to have the air pulled out of the general space and then put back out into space somewhere else. The HVAC system needs to have a strong filtering system that cleans the air before putting it back into circulation. 

The ventilation should also be cycling in fresh air from outside the building. This will help get rid of contaminated air in a safe manner because it is being cycled outside, where it can more easily be disseminated and rendered harmless. Make sure that any building you are in uses proper ventilation and cycling in this way.

COVID and Indoor Air Quality

COVID’s effect on indoor air quality isn’t just important for businesses, though that’s something to keep in mind. It’s also important when you’re considering your own home. You want to make sure that you are getting a good amount of ventilation, which can happen in a number of ways:

  • Open windows and screened doors
  • Use window air conditioners that use outdoor intake or vents
  • Use the outdoor air intake on your HVAC system
  • Use bathroom fans as frequently as possible
  • Use your Heat Recovery Ventilator
  • Use your Energy Recovery Ventilator
  • Make the most of cross-ventilation and breezes
  • Open top and bottom sashes or improved ventilation
  • Use multiple fans to increase airflow
  • Keep airflow from directly blowing from one person to another
  • Use an evaporative cooler
  • Run your HVAC fan as often as possible
  • Use a high-efficiency filter in your HVAC system
  • Use a portable air cleaner or purifier

By employing each of these methods you’ll be able to help your family and anyone who is coming into your home for any reason stay safe. If there is the potential for spread, you will be able to properly ventilate the air in a way that helps you all be better protected.  

Things to Keep in Mind about Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

You want to make sure that you are monitoring each of the things we’ve mentioned above and made the most out of each of them. But that doesn’t mean that you should set and forget everything. You should also be monitoring for a few negative effects of each of these. 

  • Make sure children and others are protected when opening windows and doors
  • Be careful of fan placement to avoid danger for children and pets
  • Do not blow air directly from one person to another person, which could increase the spread
  • Be aware of the outdoor pollution levels so you know when it is safe to use outdoor air for ventilation purposes

Additional Precautions

It’s not enough simply to improve the ventilation system within your space. Because COVID can spread in a number of different ways besides just through airborne particles, it’s important to look at several different ways that it can be spread and different ways that you and those around you can reduce that possibility of spread. This includes:

  • Wearing masks
  • Frequent handwashing
  • Increased social distancing
  • Frequent surface cleaning
  • Frequent surface disinfecting

Protecting Yourself and Your Home

It’s extremely important to look at all of the different options when you’re trying to improve your air quality. Keep in mind that the air that you breathe in could contain more than just COVID. That’s why it’s essential to look at all of the possibilities. Make sure you know what’s currently out there, whether it’s the outdoor air quality or something that’s ‘going around.’ If you’re aware, you’re going to have a better chance of protecting yourself and your family. 

Air filters, quality HVAC systems, open windows and doors, plenty of fans and more will help you to increase the way that air flows through your home. And that is going to make it possible for you and your family to reduce the spread of COVID (and other diseases) amongst yourselves and others.


Photo by Marley Clovelly from Pexels