The COVID 19 pandemic has engulfed the world and India is no exception. The country is efficiently dealing with this pandemic and setting benchmark for the world to combat Corona Virus outbreak. Worldwide experts believe that staying at home is the only solution amid coronavirus crisis. With the rise in temperature, Air Conditioning systems are the need of the hour to manage thermal comfort at home, workplaces and hospitals. Referring to the ongoing debate on the usage of Room Air Conditioners at home and to create public awareness, RAMA (Refrigeration and AC manufacturers Association) today announced that Air Conditioners don’t pose any additional risk of the spread of Covid-19 infection and it is absolutely safe to use Air Conditioners at Home, Work Spaces and Commercial Buildings with few additional precautions. The announcement and recommendations were made during a video conferencing of association members chaired by Mr. Gurmeet Singh, RAMA (Refrigeration and AC manufacturers Association) and CMD, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd.
RAMA and ISHRAE have planned to run a nationwide awareness drive for the air conditioning and ventilation guidelines to optimize residential, commercial and hospital buildings for COVID-19 prevention issued by ISHRAE. ISHRAE guidelines have been extensively examined by RAMA members and the technical experts of their parent companies. RAMA has also evaluated the guidelines published by ASHRAE (US), RHEVA (Europe) etc. for the same.
Clearing myths and educating people around the use of air conditioners amid Covid-19 outbreak, Mr. Gurmeet Singh, RAMA (Refrigeration and AC manufacturers Association) and CMD, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd. said, “As mercury soars, people are desperate to use Room Air Conditioner but are in a confusing state of mind due to certain rumours and misconceptions. They are not sure whether it’s safe to turn on home air conditioners or not. Amid lockdown when staying home is the ideal solution for Indians to contribute to the Corona Virus Fight, thermal comfort can help us in maintaining a comfortable stay at home. Room ACs for residential application are used within a single occupied zone. Installed for a single room application, the entry of occupants into such spaces is controllable. There is negligible chance of infected person contaminating the room or entire home. It is also recommended to keep the room ventilated (doors or windows left open) whenever the AC is not in use.”
“To dispel the misinformation and in order to educate the users and decision makers on the spread of the novel coronavirus through air conditioners, the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) has released guidelines for the usage of Air Conditioners at residential and commercial spaces on 13th April. These guidelines are adopted by CPWD and MES. In the unprecedented time of COVID pandemic and the difficult time, RAMA feels that it carries responsibility to share correct and truthful information to the consumers and customers. The customers have many doubts on usage of Air Conditioning system and there is already an evidence of incorrect information on the social media. This will do more harm to the public at large with the setting of summer and increasing temperatures. We are in talks with various state governments to promote the ISHRAE guidelines. We are also going to run a nationwide awareness drive around the safe usage of Air Conditioning systems.”, Mr. Singh further added.
Room Air Conditioners for residential application are installed for a single room application, usually bed room and at times in living room. It is a private space of one or two individuals extended to a family. The users are constant and details of their health history and behavior is known, predictable and controllable and there is remote to negligible possibility of COVID 19 virus contamination. Refrigeration and AC manufacturers Association recommends to use the Room Air Conditioners with the following guidelines;
- The temperature should be kept between 24 to 30 Deg C , 24 for humid climate and 30 for dry.
- The units are designed to maintain the humidity between 40 and 60. In dry climate where humidity is less it is recommended to increase the humidity by keeping a water in a shallow pan.
- Ventilate the room adequately by slightly keeping the window open during running with exhaust fan running in the adjacent bathroom if possible and by keeping doors and windows open when AC is not operated.
- Increase the frequency of filter cleaning
- In case of breakdown contact authorized dealer only
With Respect to Central Air conditioning systems used in offices and other commercial applications, contrary to the general perception that it is a closed-air system, these systems are in fact well-ventilated. A standard central air conditioning system design includes a mechanical ventilation cum filtration system that draws in adequate fresh air. A central air conditioning system also maintains Relative Humidity between 40% – 70%, which is ideal for avoiding the propagation of Covid-19 Virus. Hence Central Air Conditioning Systems are safe to use.
Operating guidelines recommended for central air conditioning system are:
- a)The start-up of the system after a prolonged shutdown should follow protocols given in the ISHRAE guideline adopted by CPWD.
- b)The temperature setting can be between 24 Deg C and 30 Deg C.
- c)During non-working hours and weekends, it is recommended to keep the air circulation system running at all times without cooling.
- d)The exhaust ventilation systems in wash rooms should be kept operational 24/ 7.
- e)The service provider may be advised to clean the filters more frequently.
- f)The central AC systems are designed for fresh air changes as per the ISHRAE norms, in case the existing installed system requires augmentation an additional inline fan / TFA units should be retrofitted.