Vital Indoor Air Tools to Help Protect Against COVID, Cold and Flu Season
It is definitely furnace season here in the Quinte area. We are staying indoors this year for safety reasons as well as for warmth!
Winter can be a particularly dry time of year here in Canada, which is not always good news for our health. After all, there is a reason winter has earned the nickname "cold and flu season."
Only this year, we are facing "cold and flu and coronavirus season." This means the stakes are even higher if we let ourselves get sick!
Many people don't realize that how you use your furnace in winter can actually have a direct impact on your health during the cold season.
In this timely blog post, our team at Bi-Temp in Belleville shares top safe furnace tips to help protect you and your family from COVID, cold and flu. How? By making your indoor air toxin-free!
The Connection Between Winter, COVID-19, Cold and Flu
COVID-19, cold and flu share some similarities.
All three are primarily spread through airborne transmission. All three are viral illnesses. And all three seem to get worse in winter.
Is there a connection?
Many health officials believe people get sicker in winter for two key reasons:
- Winter is a time when we tend to stay indoors breathing stale air.
- Winter is a time when humidity is low and the air we breathe is dry.
The Danger of Dry Winter Air In Your Home
Humidity has gotten a bad rap because too much of it can lead to mould and mildew growth. However, too little humidity can also cause problems, ranging from increased risk of fire, to reduced resistance, to respiratory illness.
There are two main reasons dry winter air is especially concerning this year:
1. Dry winter air keeps viral aerosol droplets lighter so that they can stay airborne for longer and travel farther distances to infect more people. This holds true whether the viral aerosol droplet is carrying cold, flu or coronavirus.
2. Dry winter air also makes it harder for our respiratory tissues to mobilize beneficial mucus to trap viral matter as we breathe it in. With no mucus to fight back, the viral droplets travel quickly and easily down into our lungs.
How Humid Should Your Indoor Air Be?
So how humid should your indoor air be to keep you safer from viral illness?
According to a widely-cited Yale University study published earlier this year, the recommended indoor air humidity range is 40 to 60 percent.
The closer you can get to the 50 to 60 percent range, the safer you are likely to be, all other factors remaining equal.
How Can You Add Back Humidity to Your Indoor Air in Winter?
There are a number of ways you can add humidity back into your home or office space. Our team of cooling technicians at Bi-Temp in Belleville have the cost effective solutions to keeping your home’s humidity at a healthy level this winter.
The easiest way is simply to install a portable or whole-home (central) humidifier. Humidifiers allow you to change the relative humidity in the air quickly and easily. That way, regardless of the effects your heating and air conditioning has on your air, you are able to maintain a proper humidity level.
If you are a concerned about the cost to install central air humidifiers, here are some other easy ways to boost the ambient humidity that don't require the purchase of a humidifier.
- Houseplants will naturally increase the humidity (as long as you remember to water them!).
- You can place bowls of water near your heating elements for natural evaporation.
- Allowing a pot of water to boil on the stove. Removing the lid will disperse humidity into your kitchen.
- Similarly, keeping the door open after a warm bath or shower or leaving the washer door open after a clothing cycle will allow humidity to naturally dissipate into your indoor air.
Our heating and cooling specialists in Belleville, Ontario have years of experience handling indoor air quality. Having been in business since 1968, we have the knowledge and equipment you need to help protect your home and family this winter season.
How Can You Keep Your Indoor Air From Getting Stale?
Stale indoor air is air that contains a higher concentration of potentially harmful toxins. These toxins may range from dust and pollen to bacteria and viral aerosol droplets.
There is only one way to keep your indoor air fresh and that is ventilation.
Ventilation basically means "adding fresh air." You can add more fresh air to your indoor space naturally or artificially. Keep reading for Bi-temp’s air ventilation tips!
- Examples of natural ventilation include opening a window or door to the outside and adding more houseplants that "inhale" carbon dioxide and "exhale" oxygen.
- Examples of artificial ventilation include running your furnace fan continuously or installing a heat recovery ventilator.
Contact our team at Bi-Temp in Belleville for more information about our ventilation services!
Are There Other Ways to Detoxify Your Indoor Air?
In addition to adding back humidity and fresh air, it is also important to do everything you can to keep toxins out of your indoor air in the first place.
Switching to natural cleaning supplies and personal care products will help to keep toxic chemicals out of your indoor air. As will taking smoking or vaping outdoors!
At a higher level, the two main defences you have against toxic indoor air are air filtration and air purification. Both have gotten a lot of news coverage this year in the wake of the global pandemic.
It is important to understand how both of these factors work alongside your HVAC system. Without proper air ventilation and air purification, your HVAC system could be causing more harm than good!
Air purification primarily acts on gaseous and liquid toxins, such as aerosol viral droplets. Ultraviolet light purification is the most powerful air purifier.
Air filtration primarily acts on solid toxins such as dust, pet dander, pollen, mould and mildew spores and bacteria.
The best way to improve indoor air filtration is to make sure to change your furnace filter each month and to schedule preventative HVAC maintenance twice a year to clean dust and toxins out of the inner components of your air conditioner and furnace system.
Does your heating system need servicing this winter? Contact our qualified team of HVAC experts for a furnace repair or furnace maintenance appointment.
You can also add a portable or central HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration system to filter out even microscopic solids from your indoor air.
Bi-Temp Belleville Handles All Your HVAC System Needs
Bi-Temp Heating, Ventilating and AC in Belleville is an essential service. We remain open to serve you this winter for all your heating and hot water needs. Read our important COVID-19 update here!
Contact us to schedule your preventative furnace safety inspection, cleaning and maintenance service.