Ultraviolet lights and HVAC improvements to fight COVID-19

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Coronavirus cases are on the rise in 40 states and scientists say airborne transmission can’t be ruled out. Experts believe that improvements to HVAC units and the addition of UV lights at the office or at the home can help in the fight against COVID-19.

Ultraviolet lights, specifically germicidal UVC lighting, has been used in hospitals for decades to zap, kill and stop bacteria or viruses in their place. “It actually changes the DNA of the virus so it can’t replicate,” Chris Rawlings with Veteran LED in Richmond said. He recently expanded the business to include UV lighting. “We knew that indoor air quality was going to be a huge focus,” says Rawlings.

Now some folks are adding UV lights to the workplace and home. Demand and new designs are making it easier. “You can put this in your bedroom on your dresser,” Rawlings told 8News while pointing to a tabletop UV light system.

Business is booming for Rawlings with bars, restaurants, grocery stores and nursing homes all requesting UVC lights. Ultraviolet-C rays kill viruses on surfaces and business owners are looking to do whatever they can to protect their employees from contracting COVID-19. And from mobile systems to mounted lights to handheld UV devices, there are plenty of options.

Ultraviolet lighting can also be placed inside HVAC units to sterilize indoor air and improve ventilation in buildings. Rawlings said it can be mounted inside.

“In general you want to put some UV light inside that ductwork,” he said.

HVAC expert and CEO of Talos IoT Mike Scelzi says changes to air conditioning systems at the office or home can reduce airborne exposures to the coronavirus. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Condition Engineers (ASHRAE) agrees, issuing this statement:

ASHRAE leadership has approved the following two statements regarding transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the operation of HVAC systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.

Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air.

Unconditioned spaces can cause thermal stress to people that may be directly life threatening and that may also lower resistance to infection. In general, disabling of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems is not a recommended measure to reduce the transmission of the virus.”

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Condition Engineers

“Everybody is wearing a face mask these days. When it comes to air condition systems, they have also what are called facemasks. They have filtration in them,” Scelzi told 8News. Installing high-grade HEPA filters can filter out COVID-19 droplets. “HEPA is known to capture the coronavirus,” says Scelzi.

Business owners with heavy duty air conditioning systems have been turning to Scelzi for help. Talos IoT can monitor HVACs remotely 24/7 365 days a year. Customers are alerted the minute their system isn’t functioning or filtering the air properly.

“We have complete data up to the cloud. It is a fit bit for the air condition,” Scelzi explained.

Wireless monitoring costs about $200 per year for a standard 2,000 square foot building. That’s about the size of a dentist office. UV light systems for the home can start at about $100.

Rawlings said to be careful about what you buy and to make sure you get the right system for the size of the room and make sure it’s the right kind of UV light.

“There is a lot of them out there right now as you can imagine you want to make sure that you are talking about UVC germicidal lighting,” he said.

You can find more information and resources here:

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