Air conditioning and coronavirus: the rules for using it well during an emergency

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Yes to air conditioning, provided that the maintenance of the appliances is accurate. “There is no problem related to their use, there is no evidence that air conditioners can be coronavirus transmission vehicles”, he is calm at the prospect of a cool summer for citizens Gaetano Settimo, coordinator of the working group environment and indoor air quality of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità.

The report

The latest report updated in April (further changes in progress) does not provide for restrictions on “refreshment”. The recommendations follow the general ones. Cleaning of plastic sockets and filters with soap and water or with an ethyl alcohol solution with a minimum percentage of 70% is required. There is no need to spray sanitizing liquids or other products. Cleaning “reduces the dustiness of the air, one of the elements that contribute to the worsening of the state of health”. Filters should be washed at least once a month with a microfibre cloth. “At present, air transmission is not recognized for SARS-CoV-2.” .

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Dilution

“Today the viral concentration of SARS-CoV-2 that can trigger the infection is not known, therefore all the activities that allow to dilute the possible presence of infectious agents are recommended,” says Settimo. Opening windows from time to time to allow for air exchange is therefore a good rule, at home, at work, in shops. Most air conditioners use the same air taken from the internal environment according to the recirculation system, that’s why it is important to let air in from the outside. The recommended temperature is 24-26 degrees, regardless of the risk of coronavirus. With less degrees the room would get too cold and, if we move from one room to another, we would risk a cold.

Recirculation

Just the recirculation has generated some confusion. One of the annexes to the Prime Minister’s decree on restarting contains a formula regarding air conditioners that seems to indicate the elimination of the system on which most systems are based. On this Assoclima, the association of air conditioning systems, made some clarifications: “The common sense interpretation expressed by the Veneto Region is shared. It clarifies that the requirement to exclude the recirculation function must be understood as subject to the actual technical possibility of realizing the exclusion without the obligation of replacement, technological adaptation and disqualification of the system “. In practice, it is okay to continue with the same air conditioner ensuring a good exchange of fresh air “. According to Assoclima, the interpretation of Veneto should be taken as a reference model.

The colds

So what is a reasonable and healthy behavior? In an interview with the Dire agency, Giuseppe Ippolito, a member of the government’s scientific technical committee, explained: “We must think of reopening the windows, of circulating a lot of air in our homes, of not staying indoors with the air conditioners on. A person exposed to the air conditioner could take a chill and begin to sneeze. Any sneeze can be an indicator of something going on. We have to do everything to be careful of temperature changes, especially the elderly ». The conditioners, according to current knowledge, do not spread the virus, but it is better to use them sparingly since a banal cold could alarm us and make us think of symptoms related to SARS-CoV-2.

May 24, 2020 (change May 24, 2020 | 6:22 pm)

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