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Coronavirus FAQ

FAQ: How to Keep Your Home Safe from COVID-19

With so much uncertainty in the world right now, many people are concerned with the simplest and most basic things: keeping their family safe, keeping their home clean, and doing everything in their power to reduce the risk of accidental exposure to COVID-19. With the Novel Coronavirus being so dangerous to those who have a medical condition that places them at risk, it’s extremely important to do everything you can to keep your home safe.

As a homeowner, you could have a number of questions about how to keep your home safer during this pandemic. In this blog, we’ll look at the answers to a number of the most common ones we hear from customers around this time and hopefully provide you with the info you need and a little bit of peace of mind.

Should you allow repair people into your home during the coronavirus crisis?

With shelter-in-place orders instituted virtually across the country, people everywhere are understandably concerned about whether or not they should allow someone into their home to complete a service. However, sometimes repairs simply can’t be ignored, or doing so may have disastrous and significant consequences.

Home service companies, including HVAC contractors, plumbers, electricians, roofers, and many more are all classified as “essential businesses” because they provide an extremely important service: keeping our homes safe and working properly. Businesses that are remaining open, including Pipe Wrench Plumbing, are taking a ton of additional precautions to protect their workers and their customers alike while continuing to provide the services that customers need. Please click here to find more information on our COVID Response Plan.

Can coronavirus spread through air conditioning?

The short and simple answer to this question is “yes,” it technically can. However, your air conditioner does not produce coronavirus particles, nor does it come with them from the factory. The only way coronavirus particles can spread through your air conditioner is if the particles get into your air conditioner in the first place. They do this when someone who has been exposed to the disease enters your home and allows some of the particles to enter your air. When they enter your air, they can be pulled through your air conditioner through your return vent, and thus they can spread throughout your home.

The most effective way to stay safe and protected is a simple one: source control. Quarantine any people who are ill in a section of the house that is far away from your HVAC return register, clean and disinfect your home regularly, and try to limit exposure to outside sources as much as possible. Doing so will keep you safer and keep your air cleaner too.

Does your air filter protect you against coronavirus?

With the exception of the extremely rare cases where someone has a hospital-grade air purification system installed in their home, the answer to this question is no. The average HVAC filter is not designed to stop debris that is as small as your average bacteria or virus cell. They may stop hairs, larger dust particles, or a number of other things, but they do a poor job of dealing with debris this small.

Whole-house air filtration systems and other indoor air quality systems fare better. UV air scrubber lights are a better solution, but with limitations—most lights manage to disinfect about 60% of the particles that pass by them, meaning a number of cells can escape from this radiation unscathed. Other technology, including an electrostatic air filter, does an even better job still by using the power of electrical charges to trap even the smallest particles.

To make a long story short, there is no conclusive proof that coronavirus can be killed by supplemental HVAC equipment, and it certainly can't be killed by your regular HVAC filter. HOWEVER, if a member of your household has a compromised immune system, has asthma or allergies, or has another respiratory condition, it is never a bad idea to install an air filtration or purification system. The more bacteria, mold, and other contaminants you can clean from your air, the more you can safeguard your overall health during a time when people need to stay as healthy as possible.

Can coronavirus spread through ventilation systems?

The primary way coronavirus spreads from person to person is through airborne transmission. Virus particles escape from a carrier and float in the air around us until they find a way into another person who has not been infected. With that in mind, yes, the virus can spread through ventilation systems. However, that does not mean you have to settle for potentially at-risk air. Certain products on the market have shown signs of being effective against bacteria and viruses, including viruses similar to COVID-19, so there are some things you can do to protect your home.

Can coronavirus spread through building pipes?

Once again, this is also a possibility but it’s distinctly less likely than any other type of airborne transmission. This is largely due to the fact that plumbing lines are almost always sealed. There have been a couple of extremely rare documented cases where the virus has somehow been transmitted through plumbing lines, but investigations in these cases have discovered that in both cases there was a damaged sewer line that contributed to the spread. The virus can spread through raw sewage, so as long as your pipes remain sealed, you really don’t have anything to worry about.

Can coronavirus spread through drinking water?

To put it simply: it’s extraordinarily unlikely. Technically, yes, the virus can spread through drinking water, but about the only way you might catch it through a drinking water source is if someone with the disease were to sneeze directly into a glass of water that you were to then consume. As for the water flowing from your faucets and taps, you have nothing to worry about. With that being said, however, it’s never a bad time to start considering a whole-home water filtration system. Whole-home water filtration provides you with additional security and peace of mind about the cleanliness and quality of your water, and that’s invaluable for almost anyone. This is particularly true for any homes where someone living there has a compromised immune system.

Want more information on what you can do to protect your family's health? View our Healthy Home offerings here.