Well, winter is officially here at last. As we hunker down for the duration of the cold season, it is important to remember that COVID-19 is still with us.
Over the last nearly two years, we have learned so much about how indoor air quality can impact our immune system and its resistance to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Ongoing research has finally identified four key essentials to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of virus transmission. These four systems also support lower risk of bacterial, fungal and microbial health issues.
4 Ways to Boost Indoor Air Quality This Winter
Humidity, ventilation, air purification and air filtration are the four keys to improving your indoor air quality this winter.
Read on to learn how each affects the quality of the air your family is breathing and reduces risk of illness, flu and COVID-19.
1. Recommended Humidity Balance
In years past, the winter humidity recommendation for indoor living was 30 to 50 percent.
But then COVID-19 hit. After numerous studies, researchers discovered that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, doesn’t like humidity….which means we like humidity a lot!
Newly issued guidelines recommend increasing indoor air humidity levels to between 40 and 60 percent. This can be particularly challenging in winter when the outdoor air tends to be less humid.
To effectively boost and regulate your indoor air humidity, the best tool is a central whole house humidifier.
2. Increased Air Ventilation
Ventilation is often confused with air circulation. But both are important in improving indoor air quality.
But while air circulation is the process of moving air through an indoor space, ventilation is the process of adding fresh air to an indoor space.
Ventilation can be as easy as opening a window or door. But here in the far North, winter is typically not the season when you want to be flinging open doors or windows to get some fresh air!
The best method to adding ventilation to your indoor space is by installing a heat recovery ventilator system.
Not only will a heat recovery ventilator (HRV system) boost fresh air content and diffuse airborne toxins, but you will also enjoy energy savings starting the day of installation. An HRV system recycles heat energy all year long to keep heating and cooling bills low.
3. Indoor Air Purification
Two other pieces of HVAC equipment that are commonly confused are an air purifier and an air filter. While both improve indoor air quality, they do so using different pathways.
Outside, air purification is accomplished by our own sun. The sun’s ultraviolet rays damage viral, bacterial, fungal and microbial threats so they cannot cause harm.
Inside, air purification harnesses the power of synthetic ultraviolet light. Short-wave UV light bands purify your air before it reaches you, keeping your indoor air free of liquid and gaseous toxins, including airborne COVID-19 droplets.
4. Indoor Air Filtration
If you have an air purifier in place, why would you need air filtration as well?
Unlike an air purifier, air filtration works by manually removing solid toxins from your indoor air supply.
Perhaps the most common example of an air filtration system are HVAC furnace air filters. However, the air filter is typically not designed to do much more than keep large particulate debris out of your HVAC blower motor.
The exception would be a HEPA rated furnace filter. Unfortunately, the majority of HVAC systems are not designed to handle these high density air filters.
We do not recommend trying to use a HEPA filter with a standard residential air conditioner or furnace, as this would restrict air flow to the point of overheating, causing a fire risk.
Thankfully, there is an easy workaround!
You can simply add on a HEPA filter system to work with your existing air conditioner and furnace system.
Today’s HEPA air filtration systems are designed to filter out solid particles that are as small as 0.01 microns with 99.97 percent effectiveness.
This is why a HEPA filter is considered the gold standard for risk reduction on COVID-19 floors in hospitals and clinics. We think it is pretty amazing you can get hospital-grade protection in your own home just by installing a HEPA filter!
Have Your Ducts Had Superior Air Duct Cleaning Services Lately?
No discussion of indoor air quality would be complete without mentioning air duct cleaning services.
The majority of homes and workplaces have never once had a professional air duct cleaning. In some cases, this means you are relying on a duct system that is 10 or 20 years old!
Imagine if you didn’t clean your floors or shelves for a decade or two. How much dust would accumulate in your indoor air?
This gives you a good idea of why professional air duct cleaning should always precede installation of any air filtration, air purifier or ventilation support systems.
Scratch & WIN Your HVAC Equipment Free!
Here at Shipton’s, we have a tradition. Every winter, we invite you to play our popular Golden Savings Scratch & Win game for $1,000 off your A/C, furnace or HVAC combo unit.
Sound like a winning deal? You could be next!
Shipton’s Heating and Cooling Handles Your Burlington, Oakville & Hamilton HVAC Needs
Shipton’s and our sister company, CleanAir Solutions Hamilton, handles all of your HVAC and indoor air quality needs.
Call us for answers to all your indoor air quality questions. Ask your Shipton’s service technician about affordable HVAC add-ons to clean, purify and filter your indoor air to feel better all winter long.