How Ventilation Can Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Ensuring adequate ventilation with outdoor air is a key factor in reducing the concentration of airborne pollutants, including viruses, indoors. Proper ventilation also helps to reduce surface contamination by removing some virus particles before they can settle on surfaces. To improve ventilation in your home, you can introduce fresh air, filter the air that is already there, and improve airflow. Doing so can help reduce virus particles in your home and prevent the spread of COVID-19. You may not always know if someone in your household or a visitor to your home has COVID-19 or another respiratory virus.

Good ventilation, along with other preventive measures, can help protect you and others from contracting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Ventilation is the process of introducing fresh air into indoor spaces while removing stale air. This helps to eliminate air that contains virus particles and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and other respiratory infections, such as the flu. Additionally, good ventilation has been linked to health benefits like better sleep and focus, and fewer sick days off from work or school.

Ventilation systems now pump only outside air into buildings, rather than mixing fresh and recirculated air. Not all ventilation systems are capable of moving air through high-efficiency filters, but most systems can handle relatively high-efficiency filters that can control viruses. A simulation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that combining the use of masks and the use of portable air purifiers with high-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA filters) could reduce coronavirus transmission by 90%. To ensure adequate ventilation and outdoor air rates, it is important to channel as much outside air as required by local codes.

Additionally, daytime ventilation systems should be programmed to operate continuously, rather than just when heating or cooling the air. Opening windows and doors on opposite sides of your room or home will also provide a good flow of fresh air (this is known as cross ventilation). Bringing fresh air to a room and removing old, stale air that contains virus particles reduces the chance of spreading respiratory infections. Ventilation with recirculated air will not reduce the risk of COVID-19 unless the recirculated air passes through a filter made to remove tiny particles.

Viral RNA has reportedly been found in return air vents, return air ducts, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filters, but detection of viral RNA alone does not imply that the virus is capable of transmitting the disease. Accessories such as mechanical ventilation, ceiling fans, or natural air movement can be used to disinfect circulating air. This can be done passively by intentionally placing HVAC supply and exhaust grilles or by intentionally creating pressure differentials between adjacent spaces through specifying compensated exhaust and supply air flow rates. In conclusion, proper ventilation is an important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. It helps to reduce levels of infectious particles in the air and has been linked to health benefits like better sleep and focus, fewer sick days off from work or school, and improved indoor air quality.