As the year goes on, and summer draws closer, a new question is forming in many people's minds: Will the coronavirus go away in warmer weather? So far, the consensus is that no one really knows; it's possible that it will be less of an issue then, just as the flu is less of an issue, but no one knows for sure. So when the weather gets hotter and you need to turn on your central air conditioner, is that going to be safe, or will it push viral particles into other rooms, should the virus be carried into your house?
Potential for Virus Transmission
First, there is a potential for transmission, but it doesn't mean you can't use your air conditioner. In fact, depending on where you live, you may have to use your air conditioner as a matter of staying healthy.
There was an incident in China in which the coronavirus appeared to spread due to a restaurant's air conditioner. The clusters of illnesses matched up with the airflow from the unit in the restaurant. So the possibility of transmission exists.
But that does not mean all air conditioning will be bad. Remember that the setup of your central air conditioning system is likely a lot different than the vent setup in a restaurant. Plus, you're not going to have a lot of people in your home that aren't normally there, and if you practice social distancing, you won't have that many opportunities to bring viral particles into your home.
Return and Supply Vent Locations Count
Your central system has both return and supply vents, meaning that the air intake is in a separate location from the outflow vent. Intake vents are usually located in common areas in the home, so keep those areas as empty as you can; have people stay in their rooms most of the time, for example. That places them mostly in environments where, if one of them has the virus, that air isn't being sucked right into the system.
Keep up With Filter Research
Keep up with research on HEPA filters. Companies are trying to see which filters can trap viral particles and remove them from general air circulation. Much of the research is specifically for air purifiers and not HVAC filters, but keep an eye on what they find. If it turns out a specific air filter for a purifier works well, it would help to get some of those and run them often.
Change Your Filters Frequently
As for the HVAC filters, change them frequently. The intake filters should trap some particles, but they won't kill the virus. So change those filters frequently, and remember to wear a mask and gloves when doing so. Disinfect the area, bag up the old filter, and wash your hands afterward.
Companies are still learning about how the virus spreads, so there's no official guidance on what to do in terms of air conditioning. What you can do now, however, is try to keep yourselves healthy and keep changing those filters.
For more information on air conditioning services and coronavirus, reach out to an HVAC contractor in your area.