Essential Maintenance for Infection Control

Experts have recognised that ventilation in buildings is fundamental in the prevention of the transmission of infection, including COVID-19. As NSW starts on the roadmap to opening the state and restrictions are eased, infection control becomes even more important. While international travel is set to reopen, new challenges will arise. It is essential to plan and be prepared.

“Ventilation can help in protecting us from new variants of COVID-19 while the vaccination program is evolving,” says Claire Bird, President of the Indoor Air Quality Association of Australia.

The NSW Government COVID Safety plan directs businesses to increase mechanical ventilation by optimising air conditioning. Poor ventilation in buildings has been recognised as a risk in the spread of COVID-19. Building owners and managers have a legal obligation to provide safe air quality to occupants. It is vital that mechanical ventilation, HVAC systems, are well maintained and operating without unnecessary constraints.

“A well-designed, maintained and operated system can reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in indoor spaces by diluting the concentration of potentially infectious aerosols through ventilation with outside air and filtration and disinfection of recirculated air,” according to the World Health Organisation (2021).

A good first step is to ensure that your HVAC system’s maintenance is up-to-date and running at its optimal settings. Although the term `air conditioning` is predominantly associated with the cooling process, the process also involves heating, humidity control and air cleaning as its main functions. All of which are essential for infection control.

At Beaver Williams, we recognise that indoor air quality is a critical factor for people’s health and wellbeing.

As we climb out of the current pandemic, our clients, new and existing, are looking at ways to improve their working environments, to create a space, safe, clean, and comfortable for staff and guests.

How Beaver Williams Can Assist

At Beaver Williams, we are focusing on following the general principles and industry recommendations. There are three main ways to get rid of airborne pathogens in building interiors.

  1. Filter Upgrades – use better filters in large, densely populated areas and spaces to capture pathogens.
  2. CO2 monitor systems – increase fresh air ventilation at a rate greater than the code minimum and expel pathogens from the building with exhaust fans. The indoor CO2 level is an indicator for ventilation.
  3. Air Purification – use ultraviolet light to help kill viruses and organic growth, such as mould or bacteria.

A good energy-efficient HVAC strategy relies on a unified approach that can include a combination of these measures. For more information on how these measures work read on.

Essential Fire Services

Fire protection is one of the most important aspects of health and safety within any industry. Regular inspection, testing and maintenance are critical to protecting the building occupants and property by making sure that all fire safety measures can perform if the need should arise. Routine inspection, maintenance and repairs of fire safety systems are considered essential as per the recent public health orders. During the current situation, where activities are deviating from the normal operating routine, to comply with COVID restrictions it is very important to ensure all fire systems in all buildings continue to be inspected and maintained.

Beaver Williams is well-positioned to continue providing routine maintenance and repair works to all fire safety measures by following heightened safety guidelines and hygiene requirements. All our technicians have access to appropriate PPE to prevent the spread of the virus. The safety and wellbeing of our clients and employees is our utmost priority.

At Beaver Williams, we can help you select the best measures to protect your building and occupants.

The Beaver Williams Team

Beaver Williams staff have been trained to take all possible precautions to minimise the spread of COVID-19. We are up to date with the latest directions provided by the Department of Health.

Beaver Williams have a large team of service and maintenance experts working across the Sydney metropolitan area and NSW. We have decades of experience and are an established industry leader. Our team offers honesty, trust and the highest level of workmanship.

We are committed to ensuring that You’re in Control.

Ask us about compliance and efficiency today, 02 9997 4244.

Get In Touch

For more information regarding filter upgrades, CO2 monitoring for ventilation and UV air purification read below.

 

Filter Upgrades

Since COVID-19 travels through the air via aerosols, pressure is being put on institutions, universities, schools, hospitals, offices, large residential buildings, and commercial businesses to improve the efficiency of the filters in their HVAC systems.

The MERV rating for HVAC filters is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Having a filter that is rated a MERV 13 or higher in your HVAC units has a removal efficiency in the 0.30 – 1.0 micron ranging from 50% to 95%.

Another reason for having MERV 13 or higher rated filters in your units is because the COVID-19 virus attaches itself to droplets and droplet nuclei that are predominantly 1-4 microns in size. So, the higher the MERV rating, the more efficient it is at removing particles in that particle range. However, a balance must be reached as you can expect energy costs to increase due to the higher restriction with higher MERV-rated filters. If you’re not in the position that you can use a MERV 13 or higher filter, then use the highest MERV-rated filter that you can.

Types of HVAC Filters

CO2 Monitoring Systems

At Beaver Williams, we recognise every shared space or building is different and requires a constant flow of fresh, conditioned air to make it fit and comfortable for the people who work, learn, and live inside these environments every day. The indoor CO2 level is an indicator for ventilation. CO2 is exhaled by people and can build up in indoor spaces compared to normal outside CO2. Increased ventilation can lower indoor CO2 levels by introducing fresh outside air.

Our service and installation teams see the ventilation systems, in most cases, can be improved by more air changes with outside air. Standards for air changes are set by various associations for different types of buildings and environments, however what we know is that the air change rate for a space is the volume of air supplied to and removed from a space, via mechanical systems or through the building enclosure, per unit of time divided by the volume of the space.

People exhale carbon dioxide (CO2) when they breathe out. If there is a build-up of CO2 in an area it can indicate that ventilation needs improving. To determine these levels, CO2 gas sensors are used to measure the performance of the HVAC system.

Using the combined knowledge and experience of our service department, field specialists and reliable sub-contractors, in alliance with our in-house mechanical/engineering teams, these measurements are carried out in the occupied area of a room with the sensors located away from windows, doors, and ventilation grilles for accurate results. With any adjustments or modifications, follow up measurements can be made if ventilation is increased in a space to verify the effectiveness of the changes. With the data, we will customise a CO2 installation suitable for the interior zones and occupied spaces to provide a fresh and healthier environment.

CO2 Monitoring equipment

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) sanitise the air passing through the air conditioning unit with UV Lights. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation is effective against viruses, bacteria, and mould spores.  Air purification systems are designed to disinfect the air as it circulates through the ventilation system, thus cleaning the air moving around the climate-controlled spaces as the air returns to the space through the air conditioning system. This not only keeps the air in the spaces cleaner, but it also keeps the system running more efficiently and on a properly maintained system extends the life of the system.

Air disinfection applied to most air conditioning (HVAC) systems consists of using banks of UV lamps inside HVAC equipment or air ducts. These lamps intercept the airflow directly, and they release a high dose of UV-C radiation as the air passes by.

Microorganisms are so tiny that most filters do not effectively filter them out of the air conditioning units. UV treatment of return air can deliver a high standard of air quality while reducing the dependence on the outdoor air supply. This technology also reduces fouling of fans, coils/heat exchangers, improving their efficiency.

Enquire at Beaver Williams for a customised UV lighting solution that can be installed in your air ducts, installed in the HVAC units and air handling systems as required. It is also recommended to use air disinfection combined with at least MERV 8 filtration.

*Disclaimer – None of the aforementioned prevents you from getting the COVID-19 virus.

UV Light Air Purification in a HVAC System

Fire Services – Testing & Compliance

Fire protection is one of the most important aspects of health and safety within any industry. This includes the fire detection & occupant warning system, sprinkler system, hydrant system, smoke & heat alarms, portable fire extinguishers & blanket, hire hose reels, fire & smoke doors, passive fire systems, emergency & exit lighting and more.

Fire Indicator Panel Beaver Williams