Just as the coronavirus pandemic caused an acute economic crisis for many industrial and marketing sectors, the air conditioner makers have been at the receiving end of the brunt and hardships. First, they faced slower than expected sales due to the lockdown. After that, there have been rumours spread on social media that project the ACs as the prime mode of the spread of the zoonotic disease.
It was in keeping with the resolve to shatter the baseless and false assumptions with regards to using an AC that the Refrigeration and AC Manufacturers Association (RAMA) joined hands with the professional body Indian Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers also called ISHRAE. These societies have together examined and approved the guidelines for the industry issued the previous month.
The organization verified the air conditioning and ventilation guidelines for its successful implementation in residential and commercial locations. Their examination concluded with a range of temperature which was deemed to be suitable. Thus, a temperature range of 24 to 30 degrees and relative humidity that falls between 40 and 70 were found to be very appropriate towards scaling up immunity and reducing the chances of infection.
Earlier also, such research has been conducted by universities. Qingyan Chen, a researcher at Purdue University, had also confirmed that any split or window type air conditioner which is mostly used at domestic settings, would bear no effect on the transmission of the coronavirus and therefore does not pose any risk towards the spread of the infectious disease.
For a split type system, Qingyan had suggested opening the window a bit to let outdoor air enter the cabin or room. In the case of the window air conditioning system, Chen advised that it would be better if customers and users increase the outdoor airflow rate given that the appliance has been provided with an option. If there is no option like that, Qingyan Chen advises opening the window somewhat more to let more of the outside air inside.
Their research had exhibited that the coronavirus was more of ease at relatively low temperatures and environments that were linked to low humidity. This study established that centrally air-conditioned set-ups could facilitate the carrying away of the infection in air-conditioned halls. If the central air conditioning system is utilized, the virus could be spread to all the spaces it has been cooling.
The problem occurs in case the return air was used for conditioning purposes. For central air conditioning systems, Qingyan Chen suggested using 100 percent outside air.
Whether the research held for the current coronavirus could not be established well as of now, even the air conditioning systems on the Diamond Princess was taken up as a case. The researchers at Purdue University in the US studied both symptomatic and asymptomatic passengers on the 3,700 strong passenger cruise. The marine vehicle was separated and quarantined near the coast of Yokohama.
The cruise story gained momentum after a traveller had reached Hong Kong and tested positive for the coronavirus. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 46.5% of the people that were there on the Diamond Princess had contacted the viral infections when they were tested. A number of surfaces in cabins of passengers were examined thoroughly for more than a fortnight after the passengers were de-boarded to vacate the cabins on the cruise.
However, certain precautions are good to be followed and mean no harm. The Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA) suggested a number of measures. First of all, to remove the infectious particles out of the apartment, ventilation rates should be switched to low power in case there is low attendance.
In the case of common washrooms and toilets, the exhaust ventilation systems could also be running throughout the day. In those houses and offices that lack a mechanical ventilation system, the need to let outside air inside is dire. As such, the windows should be opened for a minimum period of 15 minutes before the room is entered. The precautions are a must in case the room has been occupied by others previously.
Anyway, the onus is on the AC makers who have to make the increased efforts of quashing the lies being spread among customers. CPWD, the state body that looks after all the government offices as well as the Military Engineering Service has given the nod to the guidelines already. Now, they need to instil a sense of trust in people again.