August 15, 2020

How to Use Your HVAC System to Keep Germs Out of Your Home

We seem to be sanitizing everything these days because being safe and staying healthy has become the #1 priority for many of us during the pandemic. Did you know that your HVAC might be contributing to the spread of dirt, grime, and germs?

While we don’t deal with as many germs in our homes as you would in public places, there are some things you can do to reduce the potential for an airborne infection from being transmitted through your HVAC system. During the COVID-19 pandemic and other times of increased risk of disease – like flu season – it’s especially important to give your HVAC the TLC it needs.

Keep the air circulating as much as possible.

It’s important to get the stale air moving and dilute any infectious airborne population in your home. You can do this by simply opening your windows when possible or using ventilation fans. When you use your AC, you are relying on recycled air, which means germs that enter your home are not able to exit. This doesn’t mean you should ditch the AC, after all, it does help keep us cool and remove the humidity during those heat waves. During the evening or on a cooler day give the AC a break and open those windows for a few hours.

Control humidity levels

We all know Winter is prime flu season – we spend more time indoors when there is very low humidity. The flu and other viruses survive more easily in low humidity environments so, upping the humidity level can keep you and your family healthier. In fact, homes that have a humidity level of between 40% and 60% have fewer flu germs in the air an on surfaces.

Having a more ambient humidity level also has other health benefits, it can reduce itchy, dry skin and nose bleeds due to dry air. Have you heard of a hygrometer before? It’s available at most home improvement stores and can tell you the exact atmospheric humidity levels in your home. During the Summer months, when the humidity can be unbearable outside, make sure your AC isn’t making your home too dry. During the winter, you may want to add a humidifier into your home to help increase the moisture in your home.

Use proper air filtration

Air filtration is especially important when you can’t open your windows to move and circulation air. Air purifiers do a great job of reducing the number of airborne particles and germs floating in the air. You can also install a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in your HVAC system.

HEPA filters are capable of catching particles that are much smaller than the space between fibers. Instead, these particles stick to the fibers as they pass over them. All HVAC systems use some filtration to remove particulates from the intake ductwork that pulls air back from your home, which is cycled through either the furnace or the air conditioning. These filters need to be regularly replaced.

Service your HVAC regularly

Regular maintenance is important to keep your HVAC system germ free. Leaks and standing water can create mold issues while also serving as a breeding ground for bacteria. A hidden leak will be identified during routine maintenance and repaired promptly, meaning that this concern can be avoided. Your system will also get a cleaning during your regular maintenance.

At Baribault Fuel, we hope your family stays safe and healthy during these difficult times. We’re still providing service and annual cleanings so don’t hesitate to call us to schedule your appointment.

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