Bars and restaurants in Avalon, NJ, and other shore points, made it through an uncertain year thanks in large part to outdoor dining options. But, smaller retail spaces — to say nothing of daycares and schools — couldn’t take advantage of that strategy. And, as the weather gets colder, doing anything outside won’t work the way it did a few months ago.
When it comes to indoor air quality, all signs point to fresh air being the key to staying open. And, fortunately, there are ways to get the cleansing effects of fresh air inside your building, any time of the year.
We’ve talked about indoor air quality in a few different ways in a few recent articles. This time around, we’re zeroing in on fresh air. Specifically, why it’s important and how to get inside your commercial space it all year long.
Fresh Air And Virus Transmission
The long-story-short is that fresh air reduces the likelihood of a virus spreading from person to person. It dilutes any concentrations of particles. When you’re outdoors, things just blow away.
It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s way better than being cramped into any closed space.
In fact, it’s where you find truth in the old habit of keeping your windows open at home to keep the air inside cleaner. It’s simple, but it works.
In the winter (and the summer, if you have your air conditioner on), you’ll track in all sorts of dust, dirt, and, yes: viruses and bacteria. When you keep the windows closed, all that junk builds up inside the house.
Commercial buildings have it even worse. Many schools, bars, restaurants, and other spaces have windows that can’t open. These designs call for constant climate control.
Viruses and Heating and Cooling Systems
What experts are seeing this year is that heating and cooling systems at best don’t help get rid of contaminants in the air. At worst, they can make problems worse.
The hitch here is that they only treat the air that’s already in the building. They never bring in fresh air. Any pollutants that are present don’t get flushed out like they would if the windows were open.
In some ways, ductless heating and cooling is a little better than forced-air systems. These setups heat and cool the air in the room without moving it anywhere else in the building.
But, ductwork and vents transport draw air from all over your building and send it to a central place to get cooled or heated. Then, the system redistributes it.
This means that viral particles on, say, the first floor, can now end up on the third.
It’s what we saw in an early study on Covid-19 spread in Wuhan, China. There was an outbreak stemming from one group of people sitting at a restaurant, and the HVAC system transported their air — and virus particles — to people in other parts of the room.
What’s The Best Way To Get Fresh Air Into A Commercial Building?
The best method of getting fresh air circulating through your bar, restaurant, school, daycare, retail, or office space is installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator or ERV.
An ERV is an add-on to your heating and cooling system. It brings in fresh air to the building without you losing the heat or air conditioning your system is providing.
It’s like having the windows open and the heat on but without paying to warm up the entire neighborhood.
How An ERV Works
When we install an ERV, we build a line leading from the outside into your heating and cooling system. This line allows air from the building to escape while drawing fresh air in from the outdoors.
The two streams meet inside the unit, which performs a heat transfer process that keeps your climate control in the building.
Here’s how that happens in the winter: The air outside is cold, but inside it’s warm. When the incoming air stream reaches the ERV, the unit transfers only the heat, or thermal energy, from the outgoing stream to the one coming in.
Now, the fresh air is warm, and the stale air is cold. The “old” air continues traveling until it’s outside, and the new, now-warm air circulates through your building.
Then, it goes in reverse for the summer: Warm air comes in, and the ERV transfers the heat from the incoming stream to the cool outgoing stream.
More Indoor Air Quality Options For Avalon, NJ Bars And Businesses
Like the ERVs, these models hook directly to the heating and cooling system and treat the entire building.
HVAC Service In Avalon, NJ
With so many indoor air quality options to choose from, it can be tough to decide which are best for your commercial space. That’s where Broadley’s can help! We’ve been providing HVAC service to Avalon and all of South Jersey for a century, and are keeping up o the latest developments.