Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the union government issued an advisory regarding the use of air conditioners in homes and offices. The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) shared the guidelines to address concerns associated with the spread of the COVID-19 via air conditioners and ventilation systems. The guidelines were compiled by the Indian Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioner Engineers (ISHRAE). It examined and analysed the climatic conditions of the Indian subcontinent to formulate the advisory document.
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ISHRAE said that the “best action” to limit the risk of infection by air was to ventilate indoor environments with outdoor air. It also quoted a study that found the transmission of coronavirus in 100 cities in China lower in high temperature and high humidity. Based on the document, here are some dos and don’ts regarding the use of the air conditioner this summer:
AC amid COVID-19 concern: Dos and don’ts
*Set room temperature between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius.
*Maintain a relative humidity between 40 and 70 per cent.
*Set temperature closer to 24 degrees Celsius in humid climates for de-humidification.
*Set the temperature closer to or at 30 degrees Celsius in dry climates and use fans to increase air movement.
*Keep the windows slightly open or use exhaust to accompany the recirculation of AC’s cool air with outdoor air intake.
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*In dry climate, do not allow the relative humidity to fall below 40 per cent. The water evaporating from a pan kept in the room will increase humidity if it falls below 40 per cent.
*Keep the room ventilated even when ACs are not running.
*The windows should be partly kept open while using electric fans. If the room has an exhaust fan, it should be switched on for better ventilation.
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*For commercial and industrial facilities, the mechanical exhaust air shall be 70 to 80 per cent of the fresh air quantity to maintain necessary positive pressure in the space.
The guidelines also warned against the air-conditioned spaces of commercial establishments which have remained closed during the lockdown. It said that these air-conditioner spaces will need maintenance for both engineering and health safety.