There’s a lot to consider when it comes to this year’s flu season. Along with influenza, we’re also dealing with a pandemic and giving a lot more thought to indoor air quality in general.
This all happens because it’s easier to spread diseases in the cold weather than when it’s warm outside.
It’s why we worry about the flu more in the winter, and why we get sick more in general around this time of year. And, when it comes to your home in Havertown, PA, we can focus on two big reasons: Dry air and stale air.
First of all, cold air is naturally less humid than warm air. And, virus particles such as the flu travel further in dry air because they don’t attach to water droplets and get weighed down.
In the winter, you have cold air, obviously. But, then, your heater warms up that cold air. That raises the temperature without increasing the moisture, making it unnaturally dry.
Next, you’re not getting fresh air in the house. Once you turn on your heating and cooling system, you’re keeping the windows closed all the time.
When that happens, anything you drag into the house — dust, dirt, germs, bacteria, viruses, etc. — doesn’t have a way back out. There’s no fresh air blowing through and cleaning house.
Fortunately, your heating and cooling system can help improve your indoor air quality, particularly during flu season. And that’s our focus in this article..
Five Ways Your Heating and Cooling System Can Help You During Flu Season
Your heating and cooling system can help keep you healthy during flu season — if you know what you’re doing. Here are five ways your HVAC system can become an indoor air quality tool.
- Upgrade Your Air Filter
- Use An Air Purification System
- Get A Whole-Home Humidifier
- Clean Out Your Air Air Vents
- Install A Fresh Air Power Ventilator
Upgrade Your Air Filter
For starters, you should already change your air filter out every month. It’s the best way to prevent dirt and dust from building up in your home. And it prevents problems with your heater and air circulation. After that, an upgrade can improve your indoor air quality even more.
Your average one-inch screen only protects you from large particles like dust. But, for a little more money, you can get a model that traps even smaller contaminants. That includes stuff as tiny as virus particles.
But, don’t just go for the best one on the shelf!
The higher the filter’s strength, the more static pressure it creates. In other words, more robust filters also prevent air from flowing through them. Eventually, you’ll find one that’s too strong for your system.
A stronger air filter won’t cost much more than a standard one. But, consult your HVAC contractor before buying one. Or, you can go one step further.
Use An Air Purification System
A workaround to getting a filter that’s too strong for your system is installing an air purification system. A purifier that hooks up to your HVAC system uses the strongest screens available. They’ll trap microorganisms and virus particles, and they come with their own motors, so you don’t worry about static pressure.
We’ve installed plenty of AirScrubber systems with AprilAire filters all over Havertown, and people love them. The filters catch virtually everything, and then the system uses UV light that safely eradicates everything that builds up on the screen.
Since these setups hook directly to the ductwork, they treat the entire house and make your air cleaner than ever.
Granted, these cost significantly more than just a filter. But, if you’re immunocompromised or have other health concerns, it’s worth considering.
Get A Whole-Home Humidifier
We mentioned the role that dry air plays in virus transmission. The solution is a humidifier that works like those purifiers we mentioned: By attaching to your heating and cooling system and treating the entire house.
You can set the relative humidity in your house to whatever you want. The sweet spot is between 40 and 60 percent. Then, the system does the rest.
Keeping just the right amount of moisture in the air cuts down on transmissions when particles can’t travel as far. Plus, people who get dry skin or nosebleeds in the winter will see those symptoms disappear, too.
Clean Out Your Air Air Vents
A great DIY solution is keeping your air vents clean. Wipe down each vent with a damp cloth, and spray disinfectant through the slots. It’s especially important just before you turn on the heater for the first time.
All sorts of junk builds up here during the months when you’re not running air through the system. This quick, easy process gets rid of it.
After that, it’s a good idea to do this every so often during the winter. It’s no silver bullet, but it’s essentially free and only takes a few minutes.
Install A Fresh Air Power Ventilator
The last step is a big one: using a fresh air power ventilator to bring in air from outside and flush out the contaminants in your home.
These products are pretty much like energy recovery ventilators you may find in commercial buildings, only made for residential use. We go into more detail on how those work here, but for now, the short version is:
A power ventilator continually brings in fresh air from outside while cycling out the air that’s already in your house. But, as the inbound and outbound air streams meet, the machine uses a heat transfer process.
This step moves the heat from the outgoing air warmed by your furnace and transfers it to the incoming cold air. By the time that fresh air reaches your vents, it’s already warmed up. And, your furnace didn’t put in any extra work.
The result? The feeling of having your windows open without wasting your money heating the whole neighborhood.
HVAC Companies In Havertown, PA
You can take a few easy steps to protect your home during the flu season. And, when you’re looking to really upgrade your indoor air quality, it’s time to call a trust HVAC company in Havertown, PA to help you create your strategy.
At John Cipollone, we’ve been serving Delaware and Montgomery counties for more than 50 years, and we’re up-to-date on the latest technology and developments. Call or email us today for a free consultation..