Improving indoor air
COVID-19 is an airborne virus and can spread easily indoors. Following are three ways to improve indoor air in our homes, businesses, schools, and other places where people gather indoors.
Increase Air Flow
Introduce more outdoor air to indoor spaces:
- Open windows and doors to increase the flow of outdoor air into the building.
- Increase the amount of outdoor air that is pulled in through the Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) system to 100%.
Clean Indoor Air
Remove pollutants from indoor air by adding air filtration:
- Improve your HVAC system by having it evaluated by a specialist. Determine if it can handle high efficiency filters (rated MERV 13 or higher) and install those filters if it can.
- Use portable HEPA air cleaners that provide 99% or higher filtration efficiency down to 0.3 microns.
- For a low-cost option, use a box fan with a MERV 13 furnace filter attached to the back.
Kill Germs in the Air Using Upper Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) systems can kill germs in the air but cannot remove pollutants. Use UVGI in addition to ventilation and air filtration to improve indoor air.
This solution is only intended for specific spaces and not for inside homes. Work with a specialist to see if it is appropriate to be installed in your space.
These strategies work best when used with mask-wearing, hand-washing, social distancing, and other public health recommendations that reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
- Three Ways to Improve Indoor Air and Reduce the Risk of Spreading COVID-19.
This flyer is available in PDF format in the following languages:
Indoor Air Ventilation Guide
This guide is for operators of congregate settings, schools and childcare services, restaurants, and retail or other settings where people may gather. It includes strategies that reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.
For specific sectors:
- Indoor Air Considerations for Shared or Congregate Housing (page 12)
- Indoor Air Considerations for Schools and Child Care Settings (page 15)
- Indoor Air Considerations for Restaurants (page 18)
For specific strategies:
- Washington Department of Health's Ventilation and Air Quality for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Ventilation in Buildings Guidance
- ASHRAE COVID-19 Guidance Documents
- Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) searchable list of portable air cleaners certification
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Guidance on Ventilation in the Workplace
- Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) COVID-19 Guidance on Ventilation in the Workplace
- Indoor Air and Coronavirus – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Link/share our site at kingcounty.gov/covid/air