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How good ventilation can help fight the danger of viruses

We’re now at a point where lockdown measures have started to ease across the UK, though there’s still understandably significant unease surrounding Covid-19. We’re still all likely to be spending more time in our homes on average than we normally would at this time of year, and offices are likely to remain reasonably fraught environments too, as the uneasiness about the coronavirus persists.

We’ve talked before about Sick Building Syndrome here on the blog at Askews, and how the state of the premises and its systems directly impact the health of people living or working inside it. With Covid-19 still a very real and present threat for millions of across the UK, maintaining adequate ventilation and air conditioning systems have become more important than ever.

Why is ventilation and air conditioning so important?

We won’t go too deeply into the science involved, but just to go over the basics – essentially, one of the most useful weapons we have against fighting viruses (including Covid-19) is to maintain a fine level of control over the air quality within a building. The lockdown measures themselves were designed to account for how dangerous the virus could be in enclosed spaces, especially with no ventilation. Without ventilation, all the occupants of the room are breathing the same air, which is one of the easiest ways to get infected.

However, indoor spaces with good ventilation systems will have a higher rate of air ‘cycling’ – in other words, the rate at which indoor air is replaced by air from outdoors, either through windows or more sophisticated systems like air conditioning. Even if someone inside the premises were infected, the virus will be present at lower concentrations and for much shorter periods of time than it would be in a completely enclosed space.

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There’s a proven scientific precedent for this, too. A study put together by a team of international authors modelled the transmission of the influenza virus within a school environment. The study found that if the premises met basic ventilation recommendations, it would have the same effect on transmission rates as if half the school were vaccinated.

Humidity levels are also a major factor. Viruses tend not to survive too well in environments that have humidity levels of between 50% and 60%. Outside those levels, a virus is more prone to spreading, which makes ventilation and air conditioning instrumental for maintaining a fine level of control.

What can you do?

Obviously, your very first priority should be to make sure that your premises have adequate ventilation, and if they don’t, seeing what you can do about that. If you don’t already have an air conditioning and ventilation system, you should see about getting one installed as early as you can. If you do on the other hand, it’s a good plan to book it in for a routine service and maintenance at your earliest convenience, to ensure that it’s properly doing its job of not only keeping employees comfortable in the hotter weather, but most importantly keeping them safe.

Here at Askews, our highly trained heating, cooling and ventilation engineers have more than 30 years of experience in installing and maintaining air conditioning systems, making us the perfect people to turn to for any issues regarding your system. You can count on us to help you and your staff through the summer! You can get a free quote right here on our website, or simply give us a call today on 01282 863 825, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help.

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