These are challenging times for all of us and antiviral solutions and indoor air quality have become more important than ever. It has always been important to have clean and fresh air in your home, the place where we spend at least 30% of our day. Now, with many of us forced to remain in our homes for most of the day and perhaps sharing space with our families and loved ones, having clean and fresh air has become critical for our health and wellbeing.
CO2 will cause mental impairment at levels as low as 1000ppm (parts per million). CO2 levels can rise dramatically and in just a few minutes especially when cooking. I’ve measured well in excess of 1800ppm of CO2 in my home while cooking with no ventilation running. Especially if we’re trying to work from home, we want good clean air to keep us smart and healthy and maintaining safe IAQ so we’ve put together 10 Antiviral Solutions and Indoor Iar Quality Recommendations
Of course, environmental contaminants and biological agents are probably most on our minds these days and there are measures we can take to reduce these as well. After we have started with the CDC recommendations to practice good hygiene and keep 6′ from other people, we can do a few things to make sure our indoor air is as clean as we can get it. Intelligent Heat and Power can help. Below is a sample of the solutions available to improve your living environment and help protect yourself and your family. Some are things you can do right away and some will require the installation of accessories or appliances.
So here are our 10 Antiviral Solutions and Indoor Air Quality Recomendations
- Run your bath fan continuously – Almost all homes have a bath fan so this is an easy one. If you don’t have a ventilation system like an HRV or ERV, you can run your bath fan. This will not be as effective as an HRV but it will force fresh air to enter your home to make up for what the bath fan exhausts.
- Open your windows when it’s warm – Now that temperatures are reaching the 50-60’s during the day, the cost of heating a little extra air is probably worth the benefits of making sure you keep healthy during these times. Close them back down when it drops down again at night. You only need one or two windows partially open to make a huge difference in IAQ.
- Switch your thermostat fan option to “On” rather than “Auto” – Not all systems have this option, like baseboard heat for example. But if you have a ducted or ductless-split air-based system you can tell your system to always run the fan. This will increase the air filtration and circulation of fresh air throughout the home. This comes at an electrical cost again, but in these times I think it may be worth the exchange.
- Change your air filters more often – Changing air filters is one of the most important parts of maintaining your HVAC system in normal times. But, being overzealous with air filter changes has some added benefits to us in these times. Air filters not only clean the air we breathe, but they also slow down the flow of air through our HVAC system. It sounds counterintuitive, but more expensive and higher quality air filters actually exasperate that problem. A finer filter not only has smaller passages for air, but they clog up with debris more quickly. Now more than ever we want the maximum amount of circulation to make sure fresh clean air is being distributed throughout our homes. If the air isn’t moving, it isn’t getting cleaned and if you are implementing #3 you will be getting more run-time on your filters as well.
- Upgrade your air filter media – This one isn’t always as simple as buying a better filter media but for many, it can be that simple. Some systems, especially perhaps older ductwork with newer equipment may suffer from a limit of airflow to make your equipment happy. But for the rest, upgrading the media is as easy as removing the old and inserting the new. IH&P always recommends pleated paper style filters (not the inexpensive brillo-pad style). But they come in some common ratings. Look for a MERV rating. Simply having the letters MERV means its a good filter, to begin with. However, there various grades of MERV filters with higher numbers providing higher levels of filtration. MERV 8 is about a low as you will see commonly. MERV 17-20 is in the HEPA range that you will find in hospitals.
- Upgrade your air filter system – This one may require an investment if you haven’t already got one. We have long been proponents of active air filter systems like the AprilAire 5000 electronic air cleaner. The manufacturer claims it will capture airborne particles the size of tobacco smoke and smog, remove airborne virus-sized particles and ultra-fine particles — down to 0.01 micron in size and trap airborne pollen, mold, and spore-sized particles less than a micron in size (up to 120 times smaller than a human hair). While it wont kill viruses on it’s own I think it is still warents a place in our antiviral solutions given it’s performance.
- Use a stand-alone air purifier – If you don’t have a ductwork system and want higher-level filtration and purification we recommend a stand-alone air purifier with UV-C capability. A unit like this one from Guardian has both HEPA filtration and a UV-C lamp to kill biologicals like viruses. You can also use these to supplement your other filtration systems by placing them in each room. UV-C lamps are true antiviral solutions as they will kill most biologicals. You can help us in these times as we get a little commission if you use the link above.
- Install a whole house UV-C based purifier(s) – if you are lucky enough to have a ductwork system a whole-house UV-C lamp can be installed in the equipment to help kill viruses and other biologicals that may be in the air. We also have solutions for ductless split systems that can be installed on/in each zone. These have the added benefit of reducing odors quite effectively as well by breaking down the molecules that cause the odor. Customers report that “post fish” cooking small dissipates much quicker with a UV lamp.
- Maintain humidity levels – This may be one of, if not the most, beneficial recommendations of the list. As opposed to other antiviral solutions, this is more about making you more resiliant. The recognized authority in indoor air quality is ASHRAE, or the American Society of Heating Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers. Many decades ago, they established a standard for the indoor relative humidity to be roughly 50%. Despite its convenient round number, 50% work out to be the right one. The human body does best if relative humidity can be kept at our near 50%. If the air gets more humid, our homes tend to grow more undesirables like mold and dust mites. If the air gets dryer than 50%, we as humans begin to suffer. At relative humidity levels below 50%, our mucus membranes (eyes and nose) dry out and leave us more vulnerable to viruses and other biologicals. In cold weather, your house may not tolerate humidity levels this high, but even when it’s really cold most home can deal with at least 30%RH. If you see water condensing on your windows you RH is getting too high for your house and you risk growing mold in hidden places. In our current situation, I would tend to push the envelope as much as possible to keep our bodies in prime condition to fend off illness. Portable units can humidify room-by-room but IH&P can install whole-house solutions even if you don’t have ductwork.
- Make getting outside a priority – of course, staying away from other people is critical but getting outside has so many benefits for your overall health and wellbeing. Even if it’s cold and raining the natural light and fresh air will do both your physical and mental health substantial good. If you would like IH&P to help you with install any of these solutions, please let us know. We would be happy to help if we can. Best regards,Your friends at IH&P
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