If you asked the Public Health Agency of Canada about this, they’d tell you July might as well be renamed “virus month.” Outside of the winter cold and flu season, no month of the year produces a higher number of viral outbreaks than hot, humid July.
As an example, take a look at this PHAC viral detection/outbreak report for July. No fewer than six viral strains were reported: para-influenza, adenovirus, hMPV, enterovirus/rhinovirus, coronavirus, and RSV.
Each of these viruses is transmitted by human-to-human contact, and all love warm, sweaty weather. Some of these viruses are arguably low-level (common cold), while others can cause severe respiratory distress and worse.
As you will notice from even a casual scan of the PHAC graphs, mid-month in July is prime time for these viruses to get busy infecting people. So what can you do to stay healthy this month?
In this article, we share timely tips to keep your indoor air clean, pristine, and airborne virus-free!
Keep Those Air Filters Squeaky Clean!
Your very first order of business during the months of both July and August is to make sure your indoor air filters stay squeaky clean.
If you have been thinking about upgrading to HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters, this is a great month to do it, so long as your air conditioning unit is compatible.
But most of all, you want to make sure you are diligent about keeping all filters clean and clear. This includes portable air purifiers, room dehumidifiers, central A/C filters, vacuum filters, and dryer vent lint traps.
This will ensure viral airborne particulate matter is promptly removed from your home and disposed of, rather than lingering to populate and infect your indoor air supply.
Resist the Temptation to Buy New Furnishings
There are two powerful reasons to avoid upgrading your home furnishings during the heat of the summer in July and August.
The first reason is cost-related: if you wait until fall, you can take advantage of summer clearance sales to get the best prices on new furniture, bedding, carpeting, draperies, and other home furnishings.
But the more pressing reason is health-related: new home furnishings often give off toxic gases when you first bring them home.
Carpeting is particularly guilty of this, but any new home furnishing can emit powerful chemicals from factory-treated fabrics or decorative accents that can irritate your sensitive respiratory membranes while they are already under assault from the full host of warm-weather viruses.
The same holds true for DIY home projects that require primers, paints, varnishes, glues, stains and composite materials—these can also emit toxic off-gassing into your air supply at a time when your immune system is already compromised.
Dehumidify Daily As Needed
July and August could easily be voted the months most likely to reach humidity levels above 50 percent.
In general, the Government of Canada Health website recommends maintaining indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent.
Here, you can expect levels nearer the 50 percent mark in summer and levels nearer the 30 percent mark in winter. But when your indoor humidity increases beyond 50 percent, which is most likely to occur in July and August, you can start experiencing a range of health issues.
One of the most common is home outbreaks of mould and mildew colonies. Mould and mildew may try to grow year-round in naturally damp areas like bathrooms or basements, but in the high-humidity summer season, these tiny colonies can grow and send out spores to colonize new locations inside your home.
Left unchecked, mould and mildew can create a costly remediation issue and do real damage to your respiratory health. During these months, when your air conditioner can’t handle the full responsibility of controlling the humidity in your indoor air, it is smart to add a dehumidifier, especially in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, attics, and basements.
Have Your Indoor Air Duct System Professionally Cleaned
If you are like most Canadian homeowners, you probably didn’t receive any record of a home air duct cleaning when you bought your home. This is likely because this type of cleaning has never been done.
So you can calculate how many years’ worth of dust and debris has built up inside your central air duct system based on the age of your house and how much you use your air conditioning unit and furnace/heater. The older your home is and the more you use your air conditioner and heating unit, the more dust is likely to be trapped inside your duct system right now.
Every time your air conditioner kicks on, some of this trapped dust and debris is pushed back out into your home’s indoor air supply. If you see little puffs of dust when your air conditioning unit starts cycling, or you find your eyes watering or nose running in these moments, it is likely your body is reacting to the increase in dust and allergens in your indoor air.
A professional duct cleaning can remove 100 percent of the trapped debris, dust, dirt and allergens in just one afternoon, leaving your indoor air supply pure and fresh.
Best of all, July and August are hands-down the best months all year to have this service done, because this is when your immune system can most benefit from having the cleanest, freshest air to breathe!
Give Us a Call
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, our goal is to keep you healthy year-round. Give us a call at 905-544-2470 to schedule your free consultation for a professional indoor air duct cleaning.
And don’t forget to take advantage of our Breathe Clean Air event for 20 percent off whole home HEPA filters, UV filters, heat recovery ventilators, and humidifiers.