It’s that time of year again. The weather is changing and kids are back in school. It’s just a matter of time before a cold or flu virus tries to penetrate your seemingly healthy home. Even without the traditional change of seasons here in Tampa, the fluctuating humidity and slightly lower temperatures are a breeding ground for the cold and flu. Cold and flu viruses are airborne which means that, as the primary source of air filtration and ventilation in your home, your HVAC system can either cause these viruses or help keep them at bay. Make sure your HVAC system is working for you, not against you, by using these 8 easy tips for healthier air this fall.

  1. Run your HVAC system.

Stale air environments are a breeding ground for the cold and flu. Whether you are using the heat or the air conditioner, make sure your HVAC system is on. It helps to circulate and filter the air.

  1. Change your air filter.

Get a jump on the cold and flu season and invest in a high quality HEPA filter before they have a chance to penetrate your home. HEPA filters are measured on the MERV scale (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The higher the score, the more particles the filter can remove from the air.

Different HVAC units require a different standard of filter. If you are unsure which filter is best for your unit, contact one of our specialists today.

  1. Install a germicidal UV air cleaner.

These air cleaners use ultraviolet rays to kill harmful air pollutants such as mold, fungus, bacteria and viruses. They are mounted inside your heating and cooling system with the regular filter. Using a high quality HEPA filter and a germicidal UV air cleaner will make sure your home’s indoor air quality is healthy.

  1. Regularly clean air vents and ducts.

Air ducts are breeding grounds for mold, bacteria, and viruses. Clean these regularly to prevent respiratory health problems that lead to colds and flus.

  1. Check your HVAC unit and air ducts for mold.

In a humid climate like Florida, air conditioners experience more condensation on the unit and in the air ducts. Mold can grow on both organic materials, like wood, and inorganic materials, like your HVAC unit.

If your HVAC unit has excess condensation it is more prone to mold. The air in your home is circulated from the HVAC unit and air ducts where mold could be growing. The mold or spores in or on the unit could be circulating through your home causing allergies and illness.

  1. Use a dehumidifier.

The humidity in your home should be between 40-60% for upper respiratory health and to protect against allergens and viruses. Most bacteria, viruses and mold thrive in humidity above 60%. Use a dehumidifier to help eliminate moisture in your home’s air.

  1. Properly ventilate your home.

Many newer homes in Tampa are very insulated to help conserve energy. This also means that the bad air gets trapped inside if homes are not properly ventilated.

There are three key areas of your home that are the biggest sources of moisture: kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. Make sure all of these rooms have some sort of exterior vent or exhaust to help remove moisture.

  1. Use an air purifier.

At Acree, we recommend using a whole-home air purifier to make sure the air is clean throughout the home. If a whole-home air purifier is not an option, consider using a portable air purifier in each room. Having them throughout the house helps them to effectively purify the air circulating in the home.

With just a few of these adjustments your HVAC unit can make a huge difference in your family’s health this cold and flu season. For more indoor air quality solutions to keep you and your family healthy, call Acree Plumbing, Air & Electric today at (813) 524-6313. Your family’s health is too important to wait!