Your Local Northern Beaches Air Conditioning Installation, Service & Repairs Expert 

Can Covid Spread Through Air Conditioning?

Get a free quote now

Though Sydney has moved on from the darkest days of the pandemic, COVID still lingers. You don’t hear about it as often, however from time to time someone you know will be out of action for a week or so with COVID. 

For those who live and/or work with other people in a closed environment that relies on air conditioning systems for temperature control, the thought of COVID (and other diseases) spreading can be a source of concern!

While there’s overwhelming evidence that the spread of COVID in enclosed environments is a lot higher – and air conditioning really only exists in such environments – compared to outdoor/open-air places, there’s no evidence that air conditioning units are responsible for it. In fact, some evidence points out that COVID rarely spreads through surfaces.

Some ventilation systems are also designed to replace inside air with fresh outside air, which improves air circulation inside the enclosed environment.

Related Topic: Breathe easier – why you need to clean your AC filter

How Does Covid Spread?

Droplets – is the short answer – more precisely, respiratory droplets released by humans as they sneeze, couch, sing, talk, etc!

When someone is infected by COVID-19 and they breathe or cough, they release microscopic particles or droplets which are infected by the disease and hover in the air before another individual breathes them in. Known as aerosol transmission, these particles are so small that they can spread across large distances and can find a home deep within the lungs of anyone unfortunate enough to breathe them in.

By far, the most common spread of these droplets are known as droplet transmission. When breathing, coughing, sneezing, singing or speaking, a breath full of virus can be released through the mouth or nose. Generally speaking, these particles can land within a few feet of the person and this is enough to infect another individual if they are within the radius. This is a big reason behind social distancing, where we were advised to stay metres apart from each other.

If a person carrying COVID is in an air-conditioned room, it’s entirely possible that the infected particles from his or her breath can be blown back into the room and contaminate other people. This isn’t just limited to COVID however, as other airborne infectious diseases such as the common flu, chickenpox, smallpox, measles and SARS, as an example, can also be transmitted and spread in a similar fashion.

While, it’s fair to say that air conditioning units don’t spread COVID themselves, it’s very important to pay attention to the location where they are installed as the lack of fresh air (as in outdoor air) makes the conditions favourable to the spreading of the virus. According to the World Health Organization, it’s important to open windows and doors for a few minutes every hour to allow air ‘renewal’. Needless to say, keeping safe distances will also help to minimise the risks.

Cleaning and Servicing Air Conditioning

While the transmission of COVID is mostly due to respiratory droplets that travel from human to human, air conditioning servicing, cleaning and hygiene should still be at the top of your priority list.

Dust, grime and mould can all accumulate in your system, leading to possible negative health risks.

Health benefits aside, a well-maintained air conditing unit works much more efficiently and will help you minimise energy consumption. Not cleaning and maintaining your unit, could lead to air conditioning to stop working.

Can ceiling fans spread Covid?

Ceiling fans, when used in an enclosed space, do not allow for indoor air to be replaced with fresh outdoor air, which could create ideal conditions for the virus to spread. However, when used in combination with open doors and windows, ceiling fans can immensely improve air circulation and ventilation.

Luckily, as opposed to air-con, in sub-tropical climates such as Sydney or Brisbane, ceiling fans and open windows are a great combination!

Can Air Purifier Help to Minimise COVID Spread?

The short answer is yes, however, a bit of caution is required.

It’s fair to say that most people want to avoid contracting COVID, and products that claim to stop the spread have incredible marketing appeal! Mechanic filters that provide air-cleaning technology are one of those highly appealing products. While, there’s evidence that shows some filters can remove dangerous particles from the air, not all of them are efficient.

In this case, some research is important before committing to an expensive product.

Final Thoughts

The main source of COVID spread is respiratory droplets containing the virus released by sick people in the presence of others. While air conditioning itself does not spread COVID, it’s important to open doors and windows to allow air renewal, in order to minimise the risk of spreading.