Flu season is always nasty. But now, the stakes seem higher. With all the focus on viruses and their transmission, thinking about your indoor quality for the winter is essential. And, your heating and cooling system can play a role in keeping you safe and healthy.
The weather has a lot to do with why more people get sick in the winter than in the summer. Cold air is naturally less humid than warm air, which makes a big difference.
In warm, humid air, virus particles attach to water vapor molecules. That weighs them down, so they don’t travel very far before falling to the ground. When the air is dry, small particles — especially viruses — can travel much further.
You also keep your windows shut all the time while running the heat. Particles build up inside your home because there’s no fresh air circulating and cleaning out the house. That includes dirt, dust, bacteria, and more along with viruses. When you combine the dry air and the sealed-up houses, you’ve got a much higher risk of contracting the flu or other viruses
In this article, we’ll give you four ways to use your heating and cooling system to keep the air in your home clean. They’re a combination of DIY strategies and tasks for a professional. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the air quality in your Hanover, PA home, or if you’re ready to call an HVAC company for service, call or email us here at Air Comfort Technologies.
Four Ways Your Heater Can Help Keep You Healthy During Flu Season
- Change And Upgrade Your Air Filter
- Get A Whole-Home Humidifier
- Clean Your Air Air Vents
- Get Whole-Home An Air Purifier
Change And Upgrade Your Air Filter
Your air filter keeps all sorts of contaminants from spreading through your home. As dust and dirt make their way into your heating and cooling system, the filter traps them. When you throw out that filter, you also get rid of those particles.
For the most part, these won’t do much about viruses. Those particles are too small for a standard filter to trap — at least, not with any regularity. There’s always a chance you’ll catch some, but you can’t rely on that.
Instead, you can upgrade to a more robust filter that traps microorganisms much smaller than dust particles. But, call your HVAC company first. A filter that’s too strong for your system creates too much static pressure.
In other words, the motor on your furnace won’t be strong enough to push air through the filter. You end up with weak circulation, a colder house, and possible damage to your system.
Meanwhile, make sure you change out that filter once a month! That helps avoid buildup on the screen and keeps the air — and heat — circulating better throughout the house.
Get A Whole-Home Humidifier
We explained how a lack of humidity helps viruses spread. A whole-home humidifier prevents the air from getting too dry by adding humidity when you need it. It works pretty much like a small product you buy at the drug store and plug in. But, the difference is that it treats your entire house at once, not just the room where it’s plugged in.
And, it works on its own, just like your heating and cooling system. You don’t need to remember to turn it on and off. Instead, you set the humidity where you want it — usually between 40 and 60 percent — and let the system do the rest.
Clean Your Air Vents
Before you turn on your heater for the winter, wipe down the vents in your home with a clean, damp cloth. Then, spray some disinfectant in there. Dust, dirt, and other contaminants build up in your vents and ductwork in between the times you’re using your central heating and cooling system.
There’s no air rushing through the ducts, which means all sorts of tiny particles can settle and remain undisturbed. But, once you turn on the heat, you blow all that stockpiled junk right into your home.
Now, a next step could be ductwork cleaning, but you probably don’t need it. A professional cleaning gets all the dust, dirt, and other junk out of your ducts. You can’t do it yourself because you need special tools to reach far into the system. Plus, the ductwork is delicate and easy to damage if you’re not trained to do it.
But, don’t be fooled by a company cold-calling you and offering it. Unless you can see buildup, and people in your house are getting sick, it’s a waste of money. And, don’t confuse this service with a heater tune-up, which is always a good idea in the fall.
Get Whole-Home An Air Purifier
Finally, you can bring out the big guns: A purifier that eradicates bacteria, viruses, and pretty much every airborne contaminant in your home. Again, you can compare these to a store-bought model. But, when you get one that hooks up to your heating and cooling system, you get robust treatment for the entire house.
Different models use different techniques. But, a great example is the AirScrubber by Aerus paired with an AprilAire filter. It’s a typical setup, and we’ve had a lot of success with it in Hanover, PA homes.
It uses the most robust filters out there to trap the tiniest particles, including viruses. But the purification system includes a dedicated blower. This piece prevents the static pressure we mentioned earlier.
Then, the system uses UV light to eradicate all the microorganisms that get trapped on the filter. UV light kills it all, but you can’t use it around people. So, the light remains contained inside the system.
It’s a significant investment, but it will make your air cleaner than ever before.
Indoor Air Quality and HVAC Companies In Hanover, PA
If you’re looking for an HVAC company near Hanover, PA to help you improve your indoor air quality, call or email Air Comfort Technologies today. We offer all the usual heating and cooling services, including repairs, replacement, and maintenance. And, we’re up-to-date on the latest developments in indoor air quality.
Starting with a free consultation, we’ll help make sure you breathe easy all winter.