While healthcare workers remain on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, HVAC technicians are essential workers who can also help keep the public safe and comfortable. As scientific studies continue to navigate the novel Coronavirus, as well as common illnesses such as influenza, it’s never been more important to provide customers with clean air options. Fortunately, HVAC businesses can play a significant role in maintaining safe air quality within homes and businesses.
Consider these HVAC solutions to reduce the risk of virus spread in commercial and residential spaces.
Begin Installing MERV-13 Filters
Residential and commercial HVAC air filters are categorized by a scale system known as Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values or MERV. The MERV scale ranges from 1 to 16, with 1 filtering the largest particle size and 16 filtering the finest. The majority of HVAC systems have defaulted to using MERV-8 filters, which are efficient at trapping most larger indoor dust, pollen, and mold particles. Unfortunately, air filters at this level are not as efficient at capturing viruses and bacteria due to the microscopic size of these particles. That’s where a push to upgrade to MERV-13 filters comes in.
MERV-13 filters are constructed with fine porous fibers and stretched membrane materials shown to effectively remove virus and bacteria particles from commercial and residential airflows. While customers can’t rely on finer filters alone to completely prevent the spread of diseases, this upgrade recommendation is an excellent step in the right direction towards reducing the risk of COVID-19 and flu.
Nonetheless, it’s important to assess a customer’s existing HVAC system and research any manufacturer’s recommendations before installing MERV-13 filters. The filters’ finer materials can reduce overall airflow in specific HVAC systems, causing the unit to overwork in certain situations.
Offer Portable HEPA Filtration Systems
To further provide your customers with enhanced virus protection, be sure to offer portable HEPA filtration systems. Similar to MERV-13 filters, High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) systems are equipped with filtration shown to efficiently capture particles the size of (and far smaller than) COVID-19 and flu viruses. According to the CDC, “when used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a home or confined space.”
With an extensive array of customer options, many HEPA filtration systems come equipped with features that act as great upselling points. For example, numerous HEPA systems come with Wi-Fi and smart home connectivity, minimal sound levels, and ENERGY STAR certification. Plus, HEPA filtration system sizes range from portable options fit for residential homes to more sizable options equipped for larger commercial spaces.
As with HVAC systems, HEPA filtration systems will also require filter replacements every few months, so don’t forget to include routine maintenance services for these systems as well.
Include Humidifiers Among Company Offerings
A recent study estimated that just a 1 percent decrease in relative humidity could cause COVID-19 cases to increase by more than 6 percent. In fact, areas that are less humid and undergo cold winters actually favor virus survival, as dry, low temperatures contribute to the virus’s strength. That being said, humidifiers are an excellent addition to residential and commercial services, especially for those located in cold or dry environments. Not only can humidifiers reduce dryness and allergy symptoms, but they have also been shown to reduce the airborne presence of COVID-19.
For residential and business locations in dry and cold-weather prone areas, humidifiers can offer your customers enhanced protection and comfortability this season. Similar to HEPA filtration systems, humidifiers range in size to accommodate both residential and commercial locations. Larger commercial humidifier systems tend to require a bit more upkeep, so consider offering customer routine maintenance services on these bigger systems.
Consider UV Germicidal Light Installation
Although testing is in its early stages, ultraviolet light has shown to be effective in killing airborne viruses. According to a study conducted by UV industry leader Fresh-Aire UV, their Germicidal UV Light System was shown to kill 99.99 percent of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) particles within two seconds of exposure. As studies continue to support UV lights’ effectiveness and the fight against airborne viruses, consider adding installation services to your HVAC service list.
Currently, there are two options for UV lights that are readily available for HVAC use. The first is installed directly above the coils located within an HVAC system. These coils tend to be a prime area for mold and bacteria development—and consumer air passes right over the coils—so installing UV lights to shine directly on them can kill mold, bacteria, and viruses contaminating airflow.
The second UV light option for HVAC systems is installed directly into a building’s ductwork. Here, the UV lights sanitize air recirculating back into the system. These UV systems can be coordinated with a blower motor to turn on and off as the system does, helping to rid the air of toxins and harmful particles.
Expand on Your Service List Today
As we continue to navigate the necessary adaptations to stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to keep your HVAC company current with the fight as well. To help maintain safe air quality in customers’ homes and commercial spaces, be sure to research your options. From a simple switch to MERV-13 filters to installing virus-killing ultraviolet lights, options are now allowing essential HVAC technicians to further their fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Director of Operations at JB Warranties