The flu is rough. Regular colds are bad enough, but you’re just plain miserable when you get the flu. But, did you know how your heating system can help fight the flu? It’s true – you can help keep flu germs at bay by taking preventive measures in your HVAC system. Why? Simply because indoor air quality has a lot to do with contagion and recovery time. Mold, dust, and bacteria can make the flu feel worse and last longer.
Read on for a quick list of simple upgrades you can make. These should help keep your home’s air quality high.
How Your Heating System Can Help Fight the Flu: 4 Tips
We’ve listed these tips in no particular order. Some are easy, others will need professional help – but they’re all worth the effort. First …
1. Keep Your Air Filters New, Clean, and High Quality
But why change your air filter? Why not just vacuum it? We know, filters don’t seem super important. They’re just paper, after all. However, changing your air filters regularly is crucial to the long-term performance of your HVAC unit.
Moreover, old, dirty air filters hang onto germs. Then, as air passes through them, those germs are sent all around your home. If you don’t change your air filters, you’ll never really learn how your heating system can help fight the flu. But keeping your air filters clean and strong will help keep germs and bacteria out of your home’s air.
Pro Tip: use filters with high MERV ratings. They’re far better at holding onto bacteria and viruses than normal filters are. Just Call Dale’s to find out which filter is right for your system.
But don’t stop with air filters! You should …
2. Invest in an Air Purifier
Filters are great! Air purifiers are even better. Combine the two and you have a winning formula.
However, you shouldn’t settle for a room air purifier. They only clean the air within a small area of your home. But a system-based air purifier cleans all the air in your entire home once every 11.5 minutes on average. It’s one of the best ways how your heating system can help fight the flu – since airborne bacteria, mold, and pollen can make symptoms worse.
Pro Tip: install an air purifier that uses photocatalytic oxidation to clean the air. They usually don’t need filters and do an excellent job of filtering the nasties out.
And speaking of nasties …
3. Raise Your Home’s Humidity Level
By raising the level of humidity in your air, you’ll make it harder for germs and viruses to survive. Too low, and they’ll thrive. Too high, and you’ll end up with a mold problem. The good news is that if your heating system is working right, it’ll help regulate humidity. A side benefit of increased humidity is that you’ll cut down on nosebleeds and cracked skin. You may notice that your sinuses are more clear as well. And, perhaps best of all, the right amount of humidity actually helps your system work more efficiently.
Pro Tip: use cool air humidifiers to avoid burns and the too-damp feel of hot, humid air. Even better, have a whole-home humidifier installed.
Now that your humidity is balanced …
4. Have Your Ducts Cleaned
Let’s see … dirty ducts:
- Increase energy bills
- Affect your indoor air quality
- Promote mold growth
- Smell terrible the first time you turn on your heater
Cleaning your ducts is well known as a preventive step and is another way how your heating system can help fight the flu. However, even if you don’t have the flu – and even if it’s not flu season – have your ducts cleaned regularly. Your airways will thank you.
Pro Tip: there’s no hard rule for how often you should have your ducts cleaned. A good rule of thumb is to mark your calendar for once every 2-5 years. In addition, if your indoor air quality is bad or you live in a very dusty area, you should probably get them cleaned sooner than later.
For help with your heating system, Just Call Dale’s. Our trained, licensed, and professional technicians can install an air purifier to keep your air clean. And, if your system is struggling, we’ll check it out and give you an accurate estimate. Merry Christmas, and we hope you stay healthy this season!