COVID and Your HVAC System: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Here’s a quick general rundown of HVAC systems and how they fit into this pandemic.

HVAC systems are virtually everywhere, from small homes to big shopping malls, providing everyone with comfortable environments. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the spotlight is now placed on these systems, with this question attached:

Do they help, or do they make it worse?

Here’s a quick general rundown of HVAC systems and how they fit into this pandemic.

How HVAC Systems Work

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. They provide a better quality of air indoors by removing smoke, odors, health, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, moisture, and other gases. They also help control the indoor temperature.

Not only that, but the system also takes air from inside and expels it out, which can help with any gasses or substances indoors, as they are filtered through the system. However, a lot of systems also recirculate indoor air, which can spread certain substances from one area to another. This has caused a lot of concerns now, during this global pandemic.


At the moment, there is no strong evidence to suggest that HVAC systems increase the risk of a potential COVID-19 infection. Even considering the recirculated air, the process itself removes a lot of particles from the air as it passes through the filters before it’s returned back into your home.

There is one available study, albeit not reviewed yet, from Oregon researchers who collected samples from different areas of a hospital’s HVAC system and found genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19. A potential conclusion is that the virus could be spread through HVAC systems. 

However, the researchers did not assess if that genetic material would be able to actually cause an infection (meaning they did not determine if the virus was potent or not), and there are no confirmed cases associated with the samples found in those systems.

What About Your HVAC System?

For home systems, there’s even less evidence you should be concerned. To date, there are no confirmed cases of people contracting the virus because of their HVAC system, and the US Environmental Protection Agency actually recommends running your HVAC system as a way of protecting yourself against the virus, together with other measures promoted by the CDC, such as social distancing and wearing a mask. 

The EPA recommends:

  • Running the fan system for longer, or even continuously
  • Checking to see if the filter is placed correctly, or changing the filter if needed
  • Opening the outside air intake if the system has one

Get Your System Checked Now

Your HVAC system can help protect you during this pandemic, which is even more reason to have it checked and make sure it is working properly and efficiently. Call Thomas Hoffmann Air Conditioning & Heating for checks, repairs, or even installing a brand new HVAC system.

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