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During COVID-19, How Can I Improve My Home’s Air Quality?

2020 Aug 12
Posted in: Air Quality

If you’ve been reading the news lately, you know that preventing COVID-19 is a huge concern for everyone right now. And, as COVID-19 becomes more widespread, more and more people are being asked to remain in their homes as often as possible. 

In theory, staying home sounds like the safest place to be in a health crisis, right? 

We tend to think of our homes as cleaner and free of health-risks than general public areas, and while that’s mostly true, it’s not always accurate when it comes to your home’s air supply.

In fact, the air inside your home can be up to 5 times dirtier than the air outside, according to the EPA.

Without proper filtration and purification, your home’s air can become filled with a variety of unwanted particles including airborne viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants, that can irritate pre-existing upper respiratory issues and allergies.

To help improve your home’s air quality, you should consider:

  1. Installing an air purification system
  2. Investing in duct cleaning

Below, we’ll go into more detail about how each of these solutions can help improve the quality of your home’s air.

If you want to speak with a professional about improving the air quality of your home, you can reach out to us to request an appointment. 

Air Quality Tip #1: Air purification systems

We want to start off by saying that we are not suggesting that an air purification system will prevent or get rid of COVID-19 in your home. While air purifiers can filter or inactivate some viruses, at this time there is currently no proof that air purifiers of any kind can filter out or inactivate COVID-19. 

That being said, air purifiers can help filter out viruses and bacteria that cause Swine flu, Staph infection and Strep. In addition, air purifiers can filter out contaminants that irritate your respiratory system (like smoke and mold), especially if you have a pre-existing condition. 

So, while there is no proof that an air purification system can help prevent COVID-19, it may help alleviate some of the respiratory symptoms the virus inflicts, and it can certainly help prevent or reduce other upper respiratory issues.

Now, the exact type of contaminants and microbes that an air purifier will inactivate or filter out of your air will depend on the type of air purifier you install. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of air purifiers: 

  • UV (germicidal lamps)- UV or germicidal lamps are air purification systems that are usually installed inside of your AC system and use ultraviolet light to sterilize or inactivate microbes. Germicidal lamps eliminate mold spores, some viruses and certain types of bacteria by breaking through their DNA. One important thing to note about germicidal lamps is that while they kill bacteria, viruses and mold spores, they don’t actually filter these contaminants out of your home’s air. So, if you want to install a germicidal lamp, it’s usually a good idea to pair this purifier with a filter that can catch the dead particles. 
  • High-MERV filter- MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is a way to measure how effective an air filter is. Filters range from 1-20 MERV. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles the filter can catch. Filters rated at 13 or higher are considered high-MERV. To determine which MERV rating is best for your home, we’d suggest speaking with a technician.
  • Activated carbon filters- Activated carbon filters are made of carbon and work to absorb gases, odors, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in your home’s air. Just like a UV air purifier, activated carbon filters should be paired with a HEPA filter so that your home’s air is also filtered of larger contaminants, like lint and dander. 

To determine which type of air purifier is best for your home, you should speak with a professional. A pro will help you figure out which type or types of air purifiers would be best depending on what kind of contaminants you want removed from your home’s air. 

Air Quality Tip #2: Duct cleaning

Another way you can improve the overall air quality of your home is to invest in duct cleaning. 

Over time, dust and debris can make its way into your system and settle inside of your air ducts. Dust and debris inside your ducts can decrease the efficiency of your system and increase the chance that those contaminants get blown into your home’s air. 

The benefits of duct cleaning include:

  1. Lower energy bills- without extra dust and debris cloggings your ducts, your AC system can run more efficiently, which can help reduce your bills.
  2. Reduced odors- Cleaning dust out of your air ducts can also help clear out the odors that live within that debris. 
  3. No mold or fungi- Because your air ducts are generally located in dark, cool areas, they can be home to a variety of molds and fungi. When you clean out your ducts, those microorganisms get cleared out too, which means you won’t be breathing them in every time your AC cycles on.
  4. Reduced asthma and allergy symptoms- Clearing out the dust and other particles in your ducts can help reduce respiratory irritation, which is a huge positive for people with asthma or allergies. 

So, how do you know if you need your ducts cleaned? 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says you should have your ducts cleaned if:

  1. There is visible mold growth in your duct system or on parts of your HVAC system (While many parts of your HVAC system are not visible if an expert tells you there is mold growth they should be able to show it to you.) 
  2. There are insects or rodents living in your ducts. You may not actually see any insects or rodents but droppings can be an indicator that they are living in your duct system.
  3. You notice dust/debris coming out of your duct’s supply vents. If you can see any kind of dander, hair or dust coming out of your supply vent, this is a good indicator you need to have your ducts cleaned. 

While it doesn’t hurt to have your ducts cleaned regularly, we’d suggest only having your ducts clean if you really need it. Why waste money on a service you don’t really need? 

Our recommendation would be to have an expert come to your home and take a look at your ducts to determine if you would benefit from duct cleaning. 

While a tech is evaluating your ducts, we’d also suggest having them look for duct leaks. Usually, ducts will become dirty if there are small leaks in your ductwork, so having your ducts sealed at the same time they’re cleaned will be the most effective way to ensure they stay clean in the future. 

Ready to improve your home’s air quality? Contact the best in Phoenix: George Brazil

Whether you’re interested in one of the solutions listed above or just want to talk with a professional about how we can help you with the air quality of your home, we’d be happy to help. We have quite a few years of experience under our belt, so you can rest assured that we will provide you with accurate, honest recommendations for your Phoenix home. 


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