Can I use my Air Conditioning system?

Is it safe?
Is it safe?

If your system hasn't been used in months it's an important question. 

One of the big unanswered questions as we reopen and recommission systems is: 'is it safe (or advisable) to use my air conditioning in my office or workplace? Am I putting my colleagues at risk and will it do more harm than good?’

The simple answer is 'maybe'.

The more detailed answer is shown in the infographic below.

There are a few simple take-aways if the graphic isn't for you.

1. One person in an office with Air Conditioning without fresh air input to system.

  • Operate the system as normal turning off when the office is not occupied. Restrict access by others whilst occupied.

2. More than one person in an office adhering to Social Distancing Guidance with Air Conditioning without fresh air input to system.

  • Open windows to ventilate the space to a maximum. Do not operate the Air Conditioning System.

3. One person in an office with Air Conditioning with fresh air input to system.

  • Operate the system as normal turning off when the office is not occupied.

4. More than one person in an office adhering to Social Distancing Guidance with Air Conditioning with fresh air input to system.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan
  • Open windows to ventilate the space to a maximum. Operate the Air Conditioning System with the following recommendations:
  • Reduce the Air Conditioning fan speed.
  • Run the system 24/7.
  • Clean areas between shifts.
  • Switch systems to full heating for 1 hour after every shift.

5. An Air Conditioning System without fresh air input that feeds more than one room with single occupancy

  • Lock off all but one room. In the only occupied room operate the system as normal turning off when the office is not occupied. Restrict access by others whilst occupied.

6. An Air Conditioning System with fresh air input that feeds more than one room with single occupancy

  • Operate the system as normal turning off when the office is not occupied.

7. An Air Conditioning System without fresh air input that feeds more than one room with multiple occupancy and adhering to Social Distancing Guidance

  • Open windows to ventilate the space to a maximum. Do not operate the Air Conditioning System.

8. An Air Conditioning System with fresh air input that feeds more than one room with multiple occupancy and adhering to Social Distancing Guidance

  • Open windows to ventilate the space to a maximum. Operate the Air Conditioning System with the following recommendations:
  • Reduce the Air Conditioning fan speed.
  • Run the system 24/7.
  • Clean areas between shifts.
  • Switch systems to full heating for 1 hour after every shift.

9. Air Conditioning Systems in rooms with Essential Processes (server and telecom rooms etc)

  • Operate these systems as usual with the following recommendations:
  • Restrict access to essential users only
  • Introduce control measures including access time limits.
  • Run 24/7

There will be situations where the recommendations above are not able to be followed, in that situation you would need to carry out a Risk Assessment on the room including the occupants of the room before deviating from the recommendations. We would suggest these Risk Assessments are recorded and signed by occupants as acceptable.


Andy Morgan is Air Conditioning manager at Kimpton

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