COVID-19: Improving indoor ventilation
Proper ventilation is another way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Good ventilation exchanges indoor air for outdoor air, helping to reduce potentially infectious particles in the air indoors.
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Follow public health measures
Good indoor ventilation is one part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. To lower your risk, you must also consistently:
- practise good hygiene, including:
- washing your hands frequently
- not touching your face with unwashed hands
- follow public health measures, such as:
- staying home when you're not feeling well
- keeping 2 metres apart from people outside of your household
- wearing a non-medical mask when you’re in a shared space with people from outside of your immediate household, and you’re:
- outdoors and can’t physically distance
A space that feels stuffy, crowded or smelly isn’t well ventilated. If you feel a room isn’t well ventilated, open the windows or doors.
In cold or wet environments, or where safety is a concern, open doors or windows:
- a small amount
- for a few minutes at a time
If windows have openings at both the top and bottom, consider only opening the top window. This will encourage incoming cold air to mix with warm interior air.
If you’re concerned about the ventilation in a room, but can’t open windows or doors:
- avoid the space
- wear a non-medical mask
- move outdoors or to a better ventilated indoor space
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems
Many buildings use a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to exchange indoor air for outdoor air. If your home or building has vents in the ceiling, walls or the floor, then it probably uses an HVAC system.
If your indoor space uses one of these systems, you should:
- complete routine maintenance, like:
- clearing vents and fans
- changing the filter as recommended by the manufacturer
- running the system fan continuously at a low speed
- consult a professional to check that the system is working properly
If your kitchen or bathroom has exhaust fans that are vented to the outside, you can run them at a low speed. This will move and filter the air without creating an unwanted draft. If your interior exhaust fans aren’t vented to the outside, they may just recirculate inside air without effective filters.
Air purifiers are also know as portable air filtration devices with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. They can reduce the amount of some viruses in the air when used properly. However, we don’t yet know if air purifiers are effective at reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
Using air purifiers could be considered additional protection in situations where enhancing natural or mechanical ventilation and physical distancing aren’t possible.
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