Guidelines on Indoor ventilation to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

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What steps you may take to increase ventilation.

The way you maintain or improve ventilation will be determined by the structure. Natural systems such as vents, windows, and chimneys are used to ventilate buildings, as are mechanical systems such as extractor fans or air conditioning, or a combination of the two.

  1. Reduce the amount of time you spend indoors with persons with whom you do not live.

Lower the amount of time you spend indoors with persons you do not live with to reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19 or passing it on. If possible, meet outside. If you must meet indoors, ensure that the area is sufficiently ventilated. Spending time with people you don’t live with in places with a limited flow of fresh air, such as rooms with no ventilation or windows that are seldom opened, is best avoided. The risk is higher in tiny rooms because virus concentrations in the air can build up faster than in larger places.

2. Ventilate your home

For most individuals, the simplest option to improve ventilation is to open windows and doors at home.

If your windows have openings on both the top and bottom (like sash windows), using only the top opening can help incoming fresh air warm up as it interacts with interior air, decreasing chilly draughts. Use both the top and bottom apertures in warmer weather to provide even more airflow.

Opening windows and doors on opposing sides of your room or house can also allow for a sufficient flow of fresh air (this is known as cross ventilation).

Check that trickle vents (small vents often located on the top of a window) and grilles are open and not clogged. As air flows in from these vents, it mixes with warm room air, helping to keep the room at a good temperature.

Maintain openings throughout the day, if possible, to enable a steady flow of fresh air into the home. The amount of air that flows through apertures can be affected by the weather, thus they should be adjusted to balance warmth with the amount of ventilation, when practicable.

  • If Someone is Isolating?

    If someone is self-isolating, keep a window slightly open in their room and the door closed to prevent contaminated air from spreading to other parts of the house. If the person who is self-isolating needs to use a communal room in the house, such as the kitchen or other living areas, keep these areas adequately ventilated, for example, by opening windows fully during their use and for a short period after they have departed.
  • If someone is working in or visiting your home?

    Allow as much fresh air into your home as possible without being uncomfortably cold while they are there, as well as for a short period before they come and after they leave, if you have people working in or visiting your home.

Keep Warm

Ventilating your home does not require it to be cold. You should keep the temperature in your room at least 18ÂșC because temperatures below this can be harmful to your health, especially if you are 65 or older or have a long-term health issue.

In colder weather, when it is not comfortable to leave windows open completely, partially opening the windows can promote ventilation and decrease chilly draughts.

Mechanical ventilation in the home

If your home has a mechanical ventilation system, ensure that it is operational and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Configure ventilation systems to bring in fresh air rather than recirculate indoor air. Airborne virus cannot be removed from the home by devices that solely recirculate indoor air. If someone in your family is self-isolating due to COVID-19 or if you encounter someone you do not live with indoors, you can utilise the boost option (if available) to improve ventilation.

Exhaust fans in restrooms, toilets, and kitchen areas can also be left running for longer than normal after someone has left the room, with the door closed.

3. Ventilation in the workplace and non-domestic settings

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in your workplace or public indoor environment, consider ventilation in addition to other preventive measures.

It is critical to detect and address poorly ventilated locations. The more people that occupy a poorly ventilated area, and the longer they stay there, the greater the probability of COVID-19 spread.

Control methods such as avoiding particular activities or gatherings, regulating or shortening the time of activities, and providing ventilation breaks during or between room usage should be considered in addition to ventilation for minimising the risk of airborne transmission.

Any efforts taken to increase ventilation should not undermine other areas of safety and security (for example, avoid propping open fire doors) and should take into account additional repercussions such as the health and well-being impacts of thermal discomfort.

Employers should provide clear guidance on ventilation, why it is necessary, and instructions on how to attain and maintain good natural ventilation or operate systems if user controls are available.

Ensure that mechanical ventilation systems are maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Where possible, configure ventilation systems to use a fresh air source rather than recirculating interior air. Assessing the need for and effectiveness of ventilation systems in a variety of situations necessitates engineering skill. Furthermore, ventilation design may be context-specific. Some existing and older buildings’ ventilation systems may not have been constructed to satisfy contemporary regulations, necessitating additional mitigations. Consult your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer or adviser if you are unsure.

4. Ventilation in vehicles

Enclosed vehicles, such as cars, vans, and buses, can be just as dangerous for distributing COVID-19 as structures. It is critical that vehicles be sufficiently ventilated in order to limit the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.

If you must travel, follow the guidelines for safer passenger travel. If possible, consider walking or cycling wherever you need to go.

When driving or travelling in a vehicle:

– While individuals are inside the vehicle, turn on the ventilation systems. Set to pull in fresh air rather than recirculating air.

– Windows can also be opened (partially if it’s cold) to increase ventilation. To keep the vehicle warm, the heating can be left on.

– Clear the air between various passengers or at the end of the voyage in vehicles that carry several passengers, such as taxis, so that the vehicle is aired before anyone else gets in.

– Opening doors where it is safe to do so will help to immediately shift the air. Opening all of the windows might also assist to clear the air in the vehicle.

This advice is generic in nature and should only be used as a guide. If there is a contradiction between any applicable legislation (including health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation will take precedence.

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