Multi-family properties, such as apartments, offer many advantages—including reduced living costs, a sense of community, and the oversight of a property management company. However, when it comes to controlling infection risk and the transmission of viruses such as the flu and SARS-CoV-2, apartment-dwellers may be at a disadvantage.
Most of the elevated infection risk at multifamily properties is centered around the density of people and the presence of common areas that get a lot of traffic, such as laundry facilities. In multifamily housing, visiting a gym, laundry room or mailroom can put you in close contact with other people as well as infected particles they leave behind in the air or on commonly-touched surfaces such as door handles.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a list of recommendations for owners and operators of multifamily housing to prevent the spread of common illnesses and diseases. There are also a number of steps that residents of multifamily units can take to help ensure their safety and the safety of others. These include:
- Increasing ventilation naturally. The primary trick to stopping infection in the home is increasing ventilation as much as possible. On pleasant days, opening windows in your apartment six inches is all it takes to increase airflow dramatically, dispersing virus particles.
- Utilizing air filters. If it’s too cold to open windows, there are other methods you can use, including air filters. Even portable air filters are extremely efficient at cleaning the air of the water droplets that COVID-19 rides on. Effective models are available for less than $200.
- Turn on exhaust fans. You can also use the exhaust fans above your stove top and in your bathroom, which usually help move air outside and keep it circulating. If you have access to a thermostat, you can set the fan to “on” rather than “auto” when you have people visiting, keeping the fan running continuously even when heat is off, which helps keep the air flowing.
- Follow precautions while outside the home. Most infections aren’t passed inside the home; they’re picked up out in the world. Keep yourself safe by wearing masks in areas you share with multiple people, sanitizing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and following recommendations about social distancing.
- Isolate when necessary. If you are feeling ill, do your best to stay away from the common areas of your apartment or condo building. See if a friend or a healthy member of your household can pick up your mail or laundry until you are feeling better.
Life Balance Technologies helps hospitals and other companies easily analyze air quality conditions and effectively manage their HVAC systems. By streamlining the process for compliance, auditing, and reporting, we help reduce costs and save lives.