Because we are all spending more time at home these days, indoor air quality and HVAC services are more important than ever. The majority of people are currently working and studying in their residence. Because of stay-at-home and lockdown orders, school closings, WFH, and health protection measures, our homes have become our refuge during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Essential Businesses Are Caring for Our Local Community
There is a lot of uncertainty these days, but it is clear that HVAC services are crucial now. In response to the coronavirus crisis, HVAC technicians and engineers have been deemed “essential business” providers. Both the local and national officials agree that residential, commercial, and public buildings need these professionals to help ensure greater public safety.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, ‘essential businesses’ include:
- HVAC equipment manufacturers and contractors,
- Heating and air conditioning technicians,
- Generator service and repair technicians.
Servicing and repairing furnaces, air conditioning systems, refrigeration equipment, water heaters, pipes, gas lines, electrical systems, back-up generators, and similar items is necessary despite the current restrictions on travel and personal interaction.
“Aside from providing comfort, this equipment is vital for health and safety in addition to productivity, particularly for air filtration and food and medical supply preservation, especially in this time of quarantine,” according to HVAC industry representatives. The organizations that pushed for essential-business status include the AHRI, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), and the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC).
What Homeowners Can Do to Help Technicians
To ensure the safety of customers, many HVAC service providers are following stringent hygiene and social distancing protocols and special policies. Some are providing ‘no-contact’ house calls, using video and mobile technology to interact with customers and explain estimated and completed work. We recommend that you ask your service provider what they are doing specifically to protect customers.
Here is some extra advice for homeowners during this delicate period:
- If you have any special requests regarding hygiene and distancing, please let your HVAC company know in advance.
- In addition to respecting the minimum distance recommended by the CDC (6 feet), give technicians plenty of space to work. Unless supervision is requested, homeowners can remain in another room of the house or go outside as they wish.
- To avoid contact with common surfaces throughout the house, you should clear a path for technicians making house calls. This includes leaving doors leading to the work area open.
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer or access to a sink, equipped with soap and paper towels, where workers can wash their hands as needed.
- You may consider covering touch-points – like doorknobs, light switches, and banisters – with plastic wrap or adhesive tape. This allows you to easily remove the covering once the work has been completed and avoid the need to clean every surface.
- If possible, you can isolate the area with plastic or nylon tarps and drop cloths.
Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Since we’re spending so much time at home, it’s a great time to think about the air quality indoors. Not only does fresh air help you to feel better, but it can actually decrease the health hazards within your living space. Improving the quality of air within your residence is an important step to preventing viral and bacterial infections and containing the spread of contagions.
According to the EPA, indoor air quality can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside of your home. And it’s important to note that viral diseases are spread through person-to-person contact. The risk of spreading contagion increases in co-occupied, closed spaces.
So, what can you do to make sure your family is breathing clean air in the home?
- Dusting – Eliminating dust and built-up allergens from surfaces helps decrease the amount of particles circulate in the air.
- Disinfecting – During times like cold and flu season, it’s especially important to clean and disinfect surfaces throughout the house. Using a simple cleaning solution, you should disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched, such as door handles, faucets, countertops, keyboards, and railings.
- Ventilating – Air quality is improved when fresh air is allowed to circulate throughout the house. When weather permits, open the doors and windows and use ceiling fans to increase the airflow. Make a habit of using bathroom fans and stove hoods to decrease airborne contaminants released during everyday activities.
- Use care with chemicals – As people are paying more attention to cleanliness and hygiene in the home, the number of health problems related to disinfectant exposure has increased. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label of cleaning solution, avoid mixing chemicals, and use them in ventilated areas of the house.
- Humidify – Using a central humidifier can help support your respiratory system and make your house less hospitable for contagions. This is because viruses have difficulty surviving in humid environments. Humidifying adequately is recommended when the furnace is running to combat the dryness of winter air. It’s best to keep the relative humidity level between 40 and 60%.
- Maintain your HVAC system – Annual check-ups make sure that your heating and air conditioning system is running efficiently. Your technician will check the duct system and may recommend duct cleaning to improve indoor air quality.
- Replace the HVAC filter – Use a high-quality HVAC filter (with a MERV rating of at least 9) and change it regularly, even monthly.
- Use an air purifier – Consider adding an air purifier to your existing heating and air conditioning system to help eliminate indoor air contaminants including mold, bacteria, dust, and viruses.
Providing Reliable HVAC Services When Our Community Needs Them
As a proud member of the Exton, Pennsylvania community, we want to help you and your family stay comfortable and healthy. We are ready to assist you today. As an essential business, we will continue providing services during this period of pandemic. Call AQM (610) 363-3940 or request an estimate at your convenience.