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Preparing Your Home for Cold and Flu Season

In partnership with Enercare

Friday, October 23rd 2020, 5:50 am - Why the air quality in your home is essential to your health

Enercare: Preparing your home for cold and flu season Courtesy: Enercare

We know the drill. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer, distance yourself from others who are exhibiting cold or flu symptoms and of course, don’t touch your face. These guidelines are especially vital now that cold and flu season is at the door. With more people spending the better part of the year working and schooling from home, it’s time to intervene and reduce the spread of cold and flu in our own space. Here is how you can improve the health of your family at home.

According to Arizona State University’s archive for Longest Recorded Dry Period, Chili’s Atacama Desert has the reputation of being the driest place on earth. So dry that not a drop of rain fell from October 10, 1903, to January 1, 1918. The dry, dusty conditions are heightened when winds carry a host of microbes that survive the conditions. Canadian winters can turn your home into an Atacama dust bowl. Controlling the humidity of your home is not only an excellent way to reduce the millions of airborne particles we all breathe in, but viruses fall apart in higher humidity.

Too much humidity, though, could cause condensation on the walls, window frames, and behind furniture. These moist conditions are an invitation for mould to grow. Bob Vila suggest purchasing a digital hygrometer is a small investment to help you dial in your home’s humidity to 40% to 50% range. Or to take it one step further, consider investing in an Air Exchanger with either a Heat Recovery Ventilator or an Energy Recovery Ventilator. These systems help your home (and you!) breathe better by exchanging stale indoor air for fresh outdoor air. Which system you choose depends on your needs. If you run a humidifier and are looking to control excess humidity, then a Heat Recovery Ventilator will do the job. If you don’t have humidifiers and find your home is too dry, an Energy Recovery Ventilator helps retain humidity, so you may not need additional humidification devices.

Washing your hands often is proven effective against cold and flu. In the home, washing your bed sheets, pillowcases, and bath towels once a week is also essential. But take it one step further, by disinfecting surfaces and replacing your dish rags daily. Dust the blinds as part of your cleaning routine and change the vacuum filter at the beginning of the cold and flu season. Wearing your outdoor shoes or boots indoors has the potential to add to the millions of illness-causing particles already loitering in your house. Remove your footwear and place doormats on both sides of the door to help stop tracking in any microscopic beasts. Cleaning these mats as part of your weekly routine aids in leaving cold and flu germs at the door, but in order to get rid of the microorganisms that don’t listen, consider upgrading your home’s HVAC system with supplementary technology.

Installing a UV light can reduce up to 99.999996% of the nasty invisible germs once and for all — it’s like hand sanitizer for the air. UV light has been used for years in hospitals to disinfect surgical tools. Put a UV light system to work as part of your home’s HVAC system. When germs pass into the light, they don’t stand a chance. The UV light zaps the molecular bond that holds together the virus and bacteria’s DNA, destroying them for good.

A HEPA filtration system is like a mask for your home. As air passes through, it filters out cold and flu bugs, allowing clean air to return to your home through the existing air ducts. HEPA filters have the dual benefit of trapping dust, which is known to weaken the respiratory system that could leave you susceptible to viruses.

If your HVAC system is getting old and inefficient, now is the time to consider replacing it. And it doesn’t have to be a major purchase either. Renting a furnace not only keeps your expenses under control but renting includes service and maintenance as well. Cold and flu bugs hate warmth, so having a system that will reliably move air and keep it above 20° C will cause these infectious particles to shut down sooner, so you don’t. Follow these guidelines, and with a bit of work and advice from a professional, your home can become an oasis of health. And for more information on safer air solutions, visit enercare.ca.

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