Cliche though it may be, we’re truly living through unprecedented times. Lockdowns, shortages, and a faltering economy are all compounding the anxiety many of us already felt thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason, Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning wanted to explore some of the more common plumbing and HVAC concerns home and business owners have about coronavirus, separate myth from fact, and hopefully help you breathe (and wash your hands) easier.
Call the experts in the Sacramento area at 916-455-4548 or schedule online.
COVID-19 and HVAC
Two things that we know about COVID-19 may have you catching your breath. For one thing, we know that it’s airborne. For another, we also know that HVAC systems circulate high volumes of air. That doesn’t mean you need to spend cold nights shivering, or sweltering through the dog days of summer. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), regarded as the gold standard in all matters HVAC, had this to say as part of an extensive COVID resource guide:
Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.
They went on to note that the ventilation and filtration provided by HVAC systems can actually reduce the risk of transmission indoors, while also preventing potentially life-threatening thermal stress that can lower the immune response or make it more difficult for individuals to recover. Furthermore, they remind us, “In general, disabling of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems is not a recommended measure to reduce the transmission of the virus.”
COVID-19 and Indoor Plumbing
Here, the picture gets a bit more complicated. The Coronavirus has been found in many municipalities’ wastewater in high concentrations. That doesn’t mean you should weld your taps shut. The CDC states that the virus has not been detected in municipal water supplies due to the processes used at water treatment plants.
However, there are some things that need to be addressed quickly should they arise. If a toilet overflows or a drain backs up, it needs to be fixed immediately. If you have a septic tank, it should not be left uncovered, and should also be fixed if there’s an issue. Especially if you’re a property manager, or live in a multi-unit dwelling, you’ll want to be extra vigilant about plumbing repairs. And if your municipality issues a boil water advisory, follow it.
What You Can Do, and How We Can Help
In short, your plumbing and HVAC won’t give you the Coronavirus. In fact, they can help you stay healthy, pandemic or no pandemic.
Regarding your HVAC system: since it’s helping to filter indoor air, you can breathe easy. Just make sure that you’re changing filters on schedule, and that you’re using the highest-quality filters recommended for your system. If there’s a breakdown, call us for HVAC repair ASAP. Stress runs high enough when we can’t leave home for much of anything, and runs higher when everyone’s too hot or too cold.
Regarding your plumbing: If you’re following CDC guidelines, you’re social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and washing your hands. A lot.
While the municipal water supply isn’t a concern, two things should be. For one thing, disinfect surfaces like your counters and plumbing fixtures frequently. For another, it’s worth remembering that leaks and plumbing problems lead to high humidity and sometimes standing water. When that happens, it won’t make much of a difference to a virus (which doesn’t last long outside a living host), but it’s a great breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew. Each of these things can lead to or aggravate respiratory problems that can either trick you into thinking you’ve got something worse, or can complicate recovery in the event that you do get sick. So don’t sleep on plumbing problems either, especially since we provide 24/7 emergency plumbing service.
Californians are a resilient bunch. We’ve weathered crises ranging from earthquakes to wildfires, the Great Depression to the AIDS epidemic, and we’ve gotten through all of them because we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder through the worst of it. We’ll beat this, too… and the team at Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning will be right by your side through it all.