With winter around the corner, people across most 50 states are bracing for cooler weather and planning to spend more time indoors. Meanwhile, in Bradenton, FL the weather may be pleasant, but here we’re bracing for lots of seasonal visitors in our state – and in our homes! Winter in Florida is flu and virus season, and with the new, more transmissible Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus spreading throughout the states, it’s time for homeowners who haven’t yet taken action to consider improving their Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
What Is IAQ?
According to the CDC, IAQ refers to both the quality of air inside of buildings and its impact on occupants’ health. It used to be the case that people only worried about IAQ if they already suffered from allergies, asthma, or other underlying respiratory disorders that could be aggravated by airborne allergens, chemicals, and other contaminants. These days, people are far more worried about viral transmission.
IAQ and Airborne Virus Transmission
A well-maintained air purification system is the best line of defense against airborne contaminants, including the viruses that cause the flu and COVID-19. If you’re still relying exclusively on the air filters that come factory-standard with the heater and air conditioner, it’s time to make a change. There are so many options available now that provide much more protection!
Factory-standard HVAC filters usually have MERV-8 ratings, and while it catches plenty of large dust particles, many small airborne particles, including viruses, can get through with ease. It takes a more advanced filter with a MERV-13 rating or higher to trap these tiny particles. Air filtration can be an excellent first line of defense against viral transmission when homeowners invest in upgrading their filters.
Whole-Home Air Cleaning
Trane CleanEffects, for example, goes far beyond just using denser filters that trap smaller particles. The whole home air cleaning system also uses a corona-field charger to generate a 9.6V electric field that behaves like a magnet for airborne particles. When particles enter the electric field, they naturally adhere to the system’s oppositely charged collection cells instead of circulating throughout the home.
Ultraviolet (UV) light has been used in sensitive settings like hospitals, clinics, and labs to disinfect the air and prevent the transmission of communicable diseases for years. Since the novel coronavirus first began circulating two years ago, germicidal UV light technology has gone mainstream. Now, homeowners can purchase ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamps designed to disinfect the air in HVAC ducts or on surfaces within homes.
While upgrading filters and installing whole-home air cleaning systems removes COVID-19 and flu viruses from the air before it reaches a home’s living spaces, UV disinfection doesn’t technically filter out particles at all. Instead, it deactivates them by destroying the outer protein coating with direct exposure to UVC radiation. UV disinfection is only effective if homeowners also install prefilters that remove dust and other contaminants that could block the radiation from reaching virus particles.
The Benefits of Improving IAQ
Improving a home’s IAQ doesn’t just help to protect residents and guests against COVID-19 and the flu. It also removes allergens, eliminates odors, and makes it possible for everyone in the home to breathe easier.
The most effective air cleaning and filtration systems also help furnaces and AC units run more efficiently, which can help to cut back on monthly heating and cooling bills. It’s always worth discussing options with a qualified HVAC contractor who can help homeowners choose the filtration system that’s right for them. If you’re in the Bradenton, FL area, we’d be happy to help!
Trust the Pros at Air & Energy
Many homeowners in Bradenton, FL are understandably concerned about the spread of the new Omicron variant, but luckily we have a multitude of air filtration and purification options available to ensure healthier air for our families. At Air & Energy, we’re happy to assist you if you’re considering installing new, advanced air filters and purifiers. With 38 years in the business, we know how to provide you with Simply Better service. You can reach us at (941) 778-0773 to get started.