How Does Your Home’s Air Quality Affect Your Health?
According to the EPA, COVID-19 infections can be spread via airborne particles and droplets. These particles and droplets can be dispersed into the air when someone infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus exhales, speaks, coughs, sneezes, etc. Transmission can occur across distances greater than 6 feet and accumulate in the air in enclosed indoor spaces. Furthermore, these particles will remain in the air, even after the infected person has left the room or area, and may stay airborne for hours.
Not only are airborne viruses, like COVID, a concern in your home, but so are allergens and other contaminants that can impact your health and comfort. For example, pet dander, pollen, mold, and mildew can all aggravate respiratory conditions, cause respiratory symptoms, and generally make you feel pretty crummy. Consequently, many home- and business owners are looking for ways to improve their indoor air quality and reduce the likelihood of catching COVID and other airborne viruses while indoors this winter season.
Options for improving your home’s air quality include:
- Air cleaners
- Air filters
- Air purifiers
- UV Germicidal Lights
To see an estimate of how COVID particle levels change in a home depending on the type of HVAC and air quality system setup you have, use the CDC’s helpful Interactive Home Ventilation Tool.
Keep reading to learn more about these different indoor air quality systems and how they can help you protect yourself and your family from cold, flu, and COVID transmission this winter.
The Differences Between Air Cleaners, Filters & Purifiers
Air filtration systems pass through a single or a series of filters, each of which removes particles of varying sizes from your air. You have probably heard of one of the most advanced air filters before, the HEPA filter. A HEPA filter can remove 99.9% of allergens sized as small as 0.3 microns. HEPA filters are highly effective, and many consider them the gold standard when it comes to air filters.
The terms air cleaner and air purifier frequently are used interchangeably. However, there is a difference in how these types of indoor air quality systems function. Air cleaners are typically mechanical in operation, whereas air purifiers are electronic. That said, some air-cleaning/purifying systems use both methods, and it is always a good idea to consult with one of our experts about the finer points of the systems you are considering.
Air purifiers and air cleaners are also frequently incorporated into your home’s HVAC system and run behind the scenes to keep your home’s air clean and free of particles and contaminants. They also sometimes incorporate filters, such as a HEPA filter, and frequently can remove more and smaller particles than a simple air filter can.
Why Use UV Germicidal Lights in a Residential Setting?
UV germicidal lights kill bacteria and viruses in our air by exposing them to concentrated ultraviolet (UV) light. Residential UV germicidal light systems are installed in your ductwork, where they work to clean your air, killing viruses before they are recirculated through your home. Though UV germicidal lights are not enough to protect you from COVID infection (or other viruses), they can significantly boost your HVAC filtration system, adding a further layer of protection.
If you are considering installing UV germicidal lights in your home, it is vital that you hire a professional installation expert like ours at Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, LLC. If not properly installed, UV lights can damage your eyesight and skin.
Best Indoor Air Quality System for Protecting Against COVID
When it comes to protecting against COVID, you are best off using a combination of indoor air quality measures. Typically, the first step recommended is ensuring that your HVAC system has a proper, good-quality air filter installed. From there, you will want to consider whether additional air filtration, cleaning, or purification systems make sense for your needs. Because every home is different, we always recommend speaking with one of our indoor air quality experts before purchasing a system.
Other ways to combat the spread of COVID and other viruses in your home this winter include:
- Wear masks when possible, especially in crowded areas or when in confined spaces
- Encouraging any guests or visitors with symptoms or who test positive to stay home until they are no longer contagious
- When possible, keep some windows open when having guests over to encourage a flow of fresh air throughout your home
- If keeping an open window isn’t possible, turn your HVAC fan on to run continuously while people are over
- Purchase a portable room filtration system, such as a HEPA filter, to use in high-traffic areas
- Continue to have increased ventilation for an extra hour in your home after visitors have left to reduce any potential buildup of COVID or other viruses
If you’re looking for new ways to improve the indoor air quality in your home, contact Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, LLC. We are always happy to answer your questions.