Is it safe to use Air Conditioners during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Is it safe to use Air Conditioners during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Is it safe to use Air Conditioners during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Covid 19 pandemic continues to rage across many parts of the world impacting the population in as many as 185 nations. Nearly 207,000 lives have been lost across the globe and more are battling for life. If that were not enough, for most parts of Asia in particular, the months of April and May are intensely hot with the mercury rising beyond 40oC. Many experts have also raised concerns over the impact of air-conditioners over the ongoing epidemic.  Adding to these concerns is the fact that many regions in Asia and other continents are going through a lockdown denying access to services like Car Air conditioning Service and Car Air Conditioning Regas services.  Summer obviously is the season when people need the air conditioner most.

Domestic air conditioners

The question that is uppermost in the minds of people is how safe it would be to use air-conditioners during these troubled times and how it impacts the spread of the virus. For a majority of the people, car air conditioning Regas services may not be an immediate priority since mobility is seriously restricted in most places where a lockdown is in force.  As for the domestic air conditioners, experts opine that the risk element is significantly lower when you operate the air conditioner at temperatures ranging between 24 and 30o C with humidity between 40 and 70%, subject to certain attendant conditions. The experts suggest that the rooms in homes should have good ventilation and the windows should be kept marginally open with exhaust through natural exfiltration. An exhaust fan can also be used to achieve better ventilation if that is available.

Central air conditioning

However, when we consider spaces that are centrally air-conditioned, the situation changes dramatically and in facilities like malls, theatres, offices, multiplexes, hospitals etc., the virus can spread more virulently. This happens since all windows and air vents are sealed for better efficiency of the air-conditioning and fresh air does not enter the building.  When the same air is circulating throughout the building the chances of the virus spreading to more people residing or visiting is also significantly enhanced. In different parts of the world, this has resulted in many buildings being evacuated though only some of the occupants were infected.

Importance of fresh air circulation

The impact of any airborne virus spread can be contained by ensuring the circulation of fresh air inside homes.  In apartment homes, the main door should also be kept open for about 15 minutes at intervals of 2 or 3 hours to allow cross ventilation. In homes that use air-conditioning during the day time, it is desirable to switch off the system for a few hours before bedtime and switch on again before bedtime. This will allow the windows to be opened allowing fresh air circulation for about 2 hours before the air –conditioning is switched on again.

The virus may not be airborne

However, there is no concrete evidence as yet, to show that the covid 19 virus is airborne. The scientific community holds the view that the virus spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person and physical contact with such individuals. Therefore, more than your air-conditioners, social distancing appears to be an effective measure to stay safe from this virus. In most communities, it has been noticed that the spread of the virus was caused by crowding in public places, people living in crowded and unhygienic conditions, and more importantly people who have travelled in an aircraft across cities and countries.

The virus spread in air-conditioned environments

In the context of car air-conditioning service, the spread of the virus through air travellers gains some degree of significance. Even with just one or two infected persons in the aircraft, and a flight duration of one hour or less, the chances of the virus infecting a large number of passengers in that aircraft has been seen to be pretty high. The lesson from this experience is that even if one member of your family appears to be distantly impacted or susceptible, you should immediately isolate him/her within or outside your home. When practical, just set aside one bedroom exclusively for the person to be isolated and restrict all movements in and out of the room.  Anyone responsible for providing care to the individual across the day and even other members should also wear appropriate protective gear as an abundant measure of precaution.  Hopefully, this may not be a 14 or 28 days ordeal and you can get appropriate medical advice quickly to get the isolated person back into the thick of your family.

As you would have learned from media reports, social distancing has been hailed as the best means of keeping safe from the current pandemic.  In that context even the efficiency of your car air conditioner is relevant and it may be desirable that you get your car inspected by a car air conditioning service near to you. You are welcome to contact us if you are experiencing any concerns.

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