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Expert: HVAC ventilation could help protect you during pandemic

Posted at 5:37 PM, Dec 12, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — An expert at the University of Arizona Environmental Health Sciences Department says increasing ventilation is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself during a pandemic.

"If you could think of like when you have when you're cooking something and, you know, it's really smoky. You want to get that smoke out of the room as fast as possible we all open up our doors and windows and turn on the fans, it's the same thing if there was somebody in the house. That is infectious," explained Dr. Paloma Beamer, President International Society of Exposure Science and Associate Professor.

She explained buying the right filter to keep germs out of your home is important -- and suggests using filters with higher Merv ratings, which the strength rating of the filter.

Doctor Beamer said Merv-13 or higher is ideal, but not all units can handle that.

"Otherwise, you can even use a Merv six or eight would be better. And nothing but you really want to look for HEPA filters, those are high-efficiency filters that filter out the smallest microns possible," she explained.

HVAC companies like Strongbuilt Plumbing and Air have filters like those. Service Manager, Brandon Schamahorn, said ventilation questions have been pouring in more than usual this year.

“We've seen better filtration [questions] coming in [and] people wanting to do more and being productive about not trying to get the viruses coming into their house -- just being extra cautious with anything with their HVAC system,” said Schamahorn.

He estimates UV light sales have gone up about 25%.

“What that's going to do is just keep the coil nice and clean when the air is moving past it. It's going to help kill the viruses the bacteria-- mold grows on top of that-- and when it shines on a product for a certain amount of time that's when it starts being effective," he explained.

Doctor Beamer said although going the extra mile with your HVAC unit helps, the community still has to do its part to follow all other COVID-19 protocols.