COVID-19: Use of Air Conditioners and Electric Fans During Heat Waves

  • The usual COVID-19 prevention and control measures should be followed at all times in public spaces, regardless of whether the use of air conditioners or electric fans is considered.
  • Air conditioners and electric fans remain appropriate cooling methods during a pandemic when used properly and when certain precautions are applied. Additional precautions should nonetheless be taken in healthcare facilities (see Utilisation des climatiseurs mobiles et des ventilateurs sur pied en milieux de soins dans un contexte de COVID-19 [in French only]).
  • The recirculation of indoor air by air conditioners can promote the accumulation of infectious particles in indoor environments when there is no intentional introduction of fresh air. To ensure some dilution and extraction of suspended particles, proper ventilation of the premises must be maintained.
  • The airflow created by air conditioners and electric fans may contribute to spreading infectious particles beyond 2  meters. Therefore, when these devices are being used in a space occupied by multiple people, they should be set to low speed and their airflow should be properly oriented so as to not blow directly in the face of any occupant or from one occupant toward another.
  • Air conditioners and electric fans must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions during their installation, removal, and use. This maintenance must be carried out by qualified individuals while ensuring that preventative measures are followed (e.g., hand hygiene, wearing of a mask or face covering).

The French version entitled COVID-19 : Utilisation des climatiseurs et des ventilateurs électriques lors des vagues de chaleur is also available on the website of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec at:

Stéphanie Potvin
M. Sc., conseillère scientifique, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
Jean-Marc Leclerc
M. Sc., conseiller scientifique, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
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