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How to Prepare Your Commercial Space for Employee Returns in 2021

With hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers partially or fully vaccinated, businesses are beginning to consider when and how to introduce their employees back into the workplace. If they haven’t already, commercial offices are planning to bring their teams back into the in-person workplace. Given the circumstances surrounding the current pandemic, potential employee returns in 2021 must be initiated carefully.

Now more than ever, business owners and facility managers should consider the role that their commercial HVAC systems will play in the lives of their employees and customers in the months to come. The expert team at Donnelly Mechanical is committed to providing our clients with the support they need to maintain safe working conditions for their employees.

Below are three tips for preparing your commercial HVAC system and commercial space for employee returns in 2021.

How Does Your HVAC Limit Negative Effects of COVID-19 Indoors?

As scientists become more familiar with the nature of the Coronavirus and its impact on in-person business operations, we encourage clients to foster work environments that not only abide by social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines, but also to consider the relationship between the virus and the air within your commercial space. While the virus is spread by respiratory droplets expelled by coughing or sneezing, exceptional indoor air quality can help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace and keep immunocompromised individuals safe.

How to Prepare Your Commercial HVAC Unit for Employee Returns

Upgrade Air Filters

Changing your air filters should be a standard element of your preventive maintenance plan for your commercial HVAC system—it becomes even more crucial when dealing with harmful pathogens that can drastically impact indoor air quality.

As you begin to plan for employee returns this year, consider upgrading to high-efficiency HVAC filters (MERV 13) to help mitigate the transmission of infectious aerosols throughout the workspace. When preparing for your employees to return to the physical workplace, be sure to factor in lead times for filters. The lead times for high-efficiency HVAC filters are growing as they increase in demand. In addition to upgrading your system’s air filters, consider also increasing outdoor ventilation to prevent the recirculation of air back indoors.

Deep Clean the Duct System

Before you allow your employees to resume in-person operations, arrange for a deep cleaning and sanitization of your duct system. Indoor air quality is easily affected by the conditions within the duct system of a space, and it should be regularly cleaned to remove the dirt and dust that can make their way into your workspace via tubing and filtration systems. Maintain the IAQ of your commercial space by removing any debris in your duct system and ensuring an unobstructed air flow.

In addition to regularly cleaning your duct system, perform regular indoor air quality checks to determine whether further efforts should be made to control the spread of harmful pathogens throughout your commercial space. Then, adjust temperature and humidity levels to create optimal air conditions.

Airstream and Coil Disinfection

When preparing your space for your employees to return, consider an Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) application to your existing HVAC system. UVGI is a disinfection method that uses short wavelength ultraviolet light (UVC) to kill or inactivate microorganisms. UVC light installations for HVAC systems come in two types of applications: in-duct airstream disinfection and air handler component surface disinfection. For airstream disinfection, high-output UVC lamps disinfect air as it passes through the HVAC system and irradiate the entire cross section of a duct at high intensities. These systems are designed to treat the airflow and use available space within the duct. In-duct systems are generally engineered to achieve a required level of air disinfection and are often unique to each installation.

Air handler component surface sterilization is designed to prevent and destroy microbial growth from growing on the coil and surrounding areas. Installed downstream of the cooling coil in the direction of airflow, UVC lamps remove biofilm deep in the coil fins and eliminate microbial activity, ensuring cleaner and more breathable air.

Donnelly Mechanical will fit your system with a UVC solution that works best for you and the needs of your space.

Choose Donnelly Mechanical for Your Commercial HVAC Unit Needs

At Donnelly, we understand the importance of preparing a safe and healthy workplace for your employees to return to this year. We offer a range of preventive maintenance services and indoor air quality solutions that can help you prepare your commercial space for employee returns in 2021. The team at Donnelly Mechanical is here to help you put together a plan to reopen your space safely.

Contact us today for more information on our commercial HVAC solutions.

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