Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of Georgetown and surrounding cities have been asking us more and more questions about indoor air quality or IAQ. The fact is that researchers are continually studying how the virus spreads indoors. Every day, we’re getting more clarity on the best solutions to recommend to our customers. Here at DTC, we’ve been keeping tabs on the latest studies about indoor air quality and wanted to summarize the latest information for our customers.
Automating Your IAQ Yields the Best Results
Here’s something you probably already know: we can do a lot to prevent the spread of viruses by making safe choices as individuals. Research continues to show that wearing face masks, social distancing, and limiting large gatherings are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while indoors.
However, new research from the Central Building Research Institute shows that implementing changes to building systems can add another layer of protection. For example, increasing ventilation, improving filtration, and adding an air purification system are all measures that can dramatically improve the indoor air quality and reduce the spread of viruses. One of the main reasons these methods are so effective is because, once implemented, they work automatically in the background.
5 Things You Didn’t Know Could Improve your Home’s IAQ
Much of the research about indoor air quality and COVID is with respect to commercial buildings like schools and offices. The reason for this is that those are the places where people from different households are likely to gather. However, with the holidays coming up and the arrival of flu season, you’re likely to have gatherings in your home. Luckily, ASHRAE’s epidemic task force has provided recommendations for homeowners to help improve IAQ:
- Keep Temperatures Within Normal Ranges. Here in Texas there aren’t many homeowners that would voluntarily turn off their air conditioning when it’s hot outside. Still, the experts at ASHRAE encourage homeowners to keep their homes at normal thermal conditions. That means keeping the temperature at 68-78F and 40-60% relative humidity (RH). We suggest programming your thermostat to monitor and adjust your home comfort automatically.
- Turn On Ceiling Fans. Keep the air moving in your house by using those ceiling fans. Stagnant air is the enemy here – with poor air circulation being one of the leading causes of IAQ problems. Plus, those ceiling fans are an excellent way to reduce your energy usage. Whenever you have guests in your home, make sure to have your fans on – even the lowest setting is beneficial.
- Upgrade Your Air Filter. First things first – if you haven’t replaced your air filter recently, do it as soon as you can. No filters on hand? Consider taking this opportunity to upgrade your filter to a higher MERV rating – ideally MERV 13 or higher. Higher efficiency filters will capture more particulates, which can make a big difference in your overall indoor environment. But be careful: the higher efficiency filter you use, the more resistance you’re adding to the system. A filter with too high of efficiency can make it more difficult for air to pass through, which can mean higher energy bills, degraded performance, and even iced coils. You’re looking for Goldilocks here… something that’s juuuust right for your system. If you’re not sure, simply give us a call and we’d be happy to make a recommendation.
- Whole Home Air Purifiers can Complement Your Filter. A whole-home air purifier can significantly improve your indoor air quality. One major benefit is that it continuously purifies all the air in your home, but without adding any physical filter media. That makes an air purifier an excellent companion to an upgraded air filter. Air purifiers destroy pollutants and sanitize the air better than many air filters, but without the risks of reduced system performance. We have tried many different air purifiers and we strongly recommend the MicroPure Air Purifier by Dustfree which uses NASA technology to clean the air. The purifier is installed right in your ductwork, so it works all the time and treats all the air in your home. Call us today for more information about adding one to your home comfort system.
- Seasonal Maintenance is Essential. ASHRAE recommends regular HVAC maintenance to ensure proper operation. This matters to the health and safety of your family, because tuneups can prevent breakdowns. A home comfort system that’s broken cannot keep your home at the right temperature and humidity levels. With a tuneup service, our team can identify problem areas and take care of repairs before they become an inconvenient and frustrating problem.
Indoor Air Quality Solutions in Georgetown, TX
Here at DTC, we use a combination of experience and research to inform our recommendations to homeowners. Our entire team lives right here in Georgetown or one of the surrounding areas like Cedar Park, Hutto, Leander, Pflugerville, and Round Rock. Because we’re local, we can provide same-day service. Plus, we’re your neighbors! We understand the unique challenges that homeowners in these neighborhoods face when it comes to IAQ. So if you need help with your indoor air quality this season, look no further than our team at DTC Air Conditioning and Heating. Contact us now!