Is It Safe to Crank the AC in a Pandemic?

Matt Bigler
August 13, 2020 - 12:26 pm

    The coming heat wave means some folks are preparing to fire up their air conditioning. But experts say there are a few things to look for in order to keep your indoor air safe during the pandemic.

    First, check to see if your AC unit has an external air intake. If not, you may just be spreading contaminated air through your home or work space.

    “That raises a big red flag,” said Dr. Richard Corsi, indoor air quality expert at Portland State University and a recent guest on KCBS Radio's “Ask an Expert.”

    Bringing outdoor air inside helps to significantly dilute any virus particles that may be in the air, and it almost always helps to open windows and doors to the outside in order to improve ventilation, as long as they are spaced apart from any vents.

    “There’s a possibility you can get short circuiting, so the fresh air you’re bringing in just goes out the window. You don’t want that,” he explained.

    HEPA air purifiers that are rated MERV 13 or higher can also help to trap any virus particles in the air.

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