Winter isn’t just the time for snuggly sweaters, crackling fireplaces, and hot chocolate. It’s also cold and flu season. Staying at home as much as possible may seem like a good defense, but it’s actually the opposite. Your health may worsen in winter because of your home. Poor indoor air quality can actually be at the root of these seasonal illnesses.
So what can you do to keep the sneezes and sniffles away? Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to prepare your home for cold and flu season.
Regularly Change Your Air Filter
The EPA has determined that indoor air pollution can be as much as 100 times worse than outdoor pollution. When a house is inadequately ventilated, viruses and bacteria become trapped and keep circulating. This is especially true if you have a dirty air filter. Additionally, a clogged filter can cause your system to work harder and possibly malfunction. Regularly changing your filter every thirty days can significantly help curb colds and the flu.
Revamp Your Filtration
Take your filtration up a notch by installing a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) filter. These are high-quality filters whose rating indicates how effectively they trap viruses, bacteria, and other particulates. MERV ratings go from 1 to 20, with 20 being the highest. One of our skilled professionals can determine the one that works best for your HVAC system.
Humidify Your Home
Heating your home in the winter keeps you warm and cozy, but it can also dry out the air. As a matter of fact, humidity can drop to 10 percent, which is as dry as the Sahara Desert! Cold and flu viruses love low humidity because it increases their chances of survival and transmission. A home humidifier can create moisture in your home and increase its humidity levels. You can also have a whole-house humidifier installed to ensure that your entire home is humidity-free.
Add an In-Duct Air Purifier
You may thoroughly clean your kitchen countertops, dust your furniture and vacuum your floors, but this won’t eliminate airborne flu and cold viruses. An in-duct air purifier, which is directly installed in your HVAC, can remove these particulates. It also removes contaminants such as dirt, dust mites, and pet dander that can contribute to or worsen flu and cold symptoms.
Install Ultraviolet Lights
When ultraviolet lights are installed in your HVAC system, they create the same sterile air quality found in hospitals. UV rays kill viruses, bacteria, and allergens by destroying their DNA. Placed near the air handler, they prevent these contaminants from being released into your indoor air.
Make Sure Your Heater is Working Properly
It’s a good idea to have your heater inspected and tuned up before the weather becomes cold. Viruses love cooler temperatures, so the warmer your house is, the less likely they’ll survive. Proper heating can protect you from these seasonal illnesses. Try to set your thermostat at a minimum of 68 degrees.
Install a Low-Level Carbon Monoxide Detector
Symptoms from continuous exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can mimic the symptoms of colds and the flu. Conventional CO monitors don’t sense these small amounts, but a low-level detector can give you a warning so that you have plenty of time to take action.
Maintaining consistent maintenance on your HVAC is one of the most important things to do during flu season and year-round. It is recommended by the manufacturer that you have regular routine maintenance completed on your HVAC System annually. If regular maintenance is not completed, you may not be entitled to your warranties in the event something breaks down. Regular maintenance is also imperative to avoid any air conditioning repair, as you cannot predict what will happen to your unit. Have your system checked out annually by the experts! See Progressive’s AC maintenance plans here.
It’s important to protect your health during flu and cold season. Although staying at home may seem like the best defense against these viruses, poor indoor air quality may actually increase your risk of catching them. Don’t suffer from the sniffles and shivers this winter. Call the professionals at Progressive Air Systems, and we’ll help you and your family stay safe and healthy with clean indoor air. Call today and let’s get started!