Know everything about air conditioners during coronavirus
India is grappling with a dual battle-novel corona virus (COVID-19) and the scorching summer heat in many parts of the country. During this extreme rise in the mercury, the go-to respite for many of us is the air conditioner (AC). But, with COVID-19 controlling our lives and many messages, with proven and unproven facts floating around the spread of the pandemic through the AC has made us wary of switching it on. Thus, today, before sharing the do’s and don’ts, let’s check some basics that are ideal for an AC during this time of the pandemic.
So a quick inspection, are ultraviolet (UV) lights installed in your AC system?
In case you are unaware of it and its uses, then UV light is a supplementary system for HVAC systems that help to destroys harmful microorganisms, mold, and other pathogens to maintain higher indoor air quality. The UV lights and UV lamps installed into the heating and air system when in its wavelength and energy breaks down the DNA of harmful viruses and bacteria, which then results in safe and pathogens free circulation of air indoors.
These UV lights destroy microbes in two different ways in AC/ HVAC system-
Coil Sterilization: UV-C lamps are installed to target sensitive and problem-prone components such as cooling coils, condensation pans, and filters. This allows targeting of microbial growth in tougher-to-reach areas such as grooves, fins, seams and edges.
The stick-shaped indoor coils are used as it condenses moisture from the air to dehumidify the home and as mostly for central air conditioning. This helps in any dirt, pet dander etc. to easily stick to its wet surface and in return for pure air to circulate in the room.
Air Sterilization: Air sterilization is also called an In-Duct UVC system, and with this method, the UV-C light disinfects the air as it cycles through the return ducts in HVAC system. By enhancing the reflective surface within that section of the duct work, the UV-C light is maximized in all directions, making it more efficient.
Apart from installing the UV lights in the HVAC system, here are some other guidelines around the speculation around whether ACs should be turned on or off in both homes and public places. These are issued by the centre and brought together by the Indian Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioner Engineers (ISHRAE) and the Refrigeration, and Air Conditioner Manufacturers Association (RAMA).
Measure to take for home ACs-
- Temperature settings
As per the advisory, the ideal temperature of an air conditioner should be anywhere between 24-30 degrees Celsius, i.e. 24 for humid climate and 30 for dry. The humidity should be anywhere from 40 to 70 per cent, and as most room ACs are designed to keep these levels, so be wary of the climatic condition, i.e. for dry climates’ humidity set it at higher side.
People should also ensure that the rooms are well-ventilated. For this, keep the windows slightly open or switch on the exhaust fan to provide better ventilation.
During this time of the pandemic, another vital step is to increase the frequency of cleaning the filters of the air conditioner.
- Maintain Moisture
At any time if you feel the air in the room is feeling very dry, place a bowl of water to maintain hydration level.
For central air conditioning system at public places, the temperature and cleaning guidelines are similar to that of a home. However, certain things that need to be taken care of by virtue of central air conditioning systems are mostly installed in places such as malls, offices, hospitals etc. in India and these spaces have comparatively more people.
As per the guidelines, as most commercial establishments have remained closed during the lockdown, before restarting operations, the corporations need to get a comprehensive maintenance of the HVAC systems. The coils of the indoor units should also be inspected and cleaned.
In the case of ventilation, the highly recommended option is from the outdoor air. But, if outdoor ventilation is not possible, then there should be enough fans in the space to ensure increased air movement. Another approved alternative is to have an additional fresh air duct.
They also advise the public facilities to keep the exhaust fans in kitchens and toilets switched on at all times.
- Non-working hours
During the non-working hours and weekends, RAMA proposes keeping the air circulation system running at all times without cooling.
So, follow the above suggestions to keep your home and office safe.