Home Air Quality Things We CAN Control in a Time of Crisis

Things We CAN Control in a Time of Crisis


Like a Tsunami coming at us with nowhere to hide, we’re all facing COVID-19 head-on. There’s no way out but charging head-on through it.

It is encouraging that some things are under our control. For our partners and customers, we offer the following food for thought.

We Can Provide Healthy Air

When fresh outside air circulates through a building, it helps maintain a healthy indoor climate, which is especially critical these days.

Investing in high-quality air filters using the latest technology will go a long way toward promoting occupant health. According to Justin Lendowski, Sales Engineer at Telkonet, “the higher MERV rating, the better.” Lendowski also reminds us that filters should be changed on a regular basis to ensure optimal conditions.

Is Humidity ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’?

Some HVAC systems—and even some energy management systems—actually go beyond measuring humidity, to actually controlling it. If you’re able to control humidity at your property, the following information may be helpful to you.

When an HVAC system pulls in fresh air, it can pull in humidity too, depending on the outdoor climate.

Experts such as Joseph G. Allen, Director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, tell us that viruses tend to survive at low humidity. Dry, cold air provides favorable conditions for flu transmission in general.

“In low humidity, there’s rapid evaporation of respiratory droplets. They remain airborne for prolonged periods, increasing the time and distance over which transmission can occur,” according to Dr. Alan Evangelista, a microbiology and virology professor at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

In contrast, high humidity and high temperature may play a role in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, according to Cornell University.  Here is why, as explained by Dr. Evangelista from St. Christopher’s Hospital: “As humidity increases, the viral droplet size is larger and settles out of the air rapidly.”

A Word About PTAC Systems

PTAC systems, for better or worse, contain the air, along with any pathogens it might hold, to a single small area. They recirculate more of this “used” air; the filtration is less effective. For this reason, Samuel Jiang, PE, a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer, recommends opening windows for an hour or so before turning a PTAC on, if the outside air is not too cold, too polluted, and if city street noise is not excessive.

Managing Energy During Low Occupancy

Energy management systems actually save the most energy when rooms are vacant. If you’re managing student housing properties, for example, and they’re going to be empty for the foreseeable future, remember to remotely adjust the temperature accordingly. The same goes for the hospitality industry, along with “Unsold” profile adjustments.

We Are in This Together

In this period of uncertainty, we pledge to work together with our partners and our customers for the good of all of us. We will get through this together and be stronger for it. Stay safe. Stay healthy.