UV Lights, Indoor Air Quality, and How They Can Assist Fighting COVID-19

Colds, influenza and springtime allergies are par for the course in late winter and early spring, but recently, we’ve had new problems to contend with. In January of 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the United States. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a variant of the SARS virus, and it is primarily spread through droplets in the air. If anyone in your home is infected, their coughs and sneezes could propel the virus throughout your home. At Integrity Heating & Cooling in Charlotte, North Carolina, we offer UV lights and other indoor air quality solutions that could help remove germs and keep your home healthier and cleaner.

How COVID-19 Affects You

Although the earliest cases of COVID-19 were people who had traveled to Wuhan, China, community spread quickly developed. Local and state government authorities have taken a variety of steps to curb the community spread and “flatten the curve,” including shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. Most people are still permitted to leave their homes for exercise or a visit to the pharmacy, grocery store, auto parts store or hardware store. Because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, it’s possible for you to be exposed and infected when venturing outdoors. Once one person in your home has the disease, it is possible to spread it to the others who reside there. The virus can survive suspended in air droplets for up to three hours and on surfaces for up to several days. Fortunately, our HVAC technicians have solutions that could help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses in your residence.

Airborne Transmission of COVID-19

COVID-19 travels through the air as its primary mode of infection from one person to another. It does this in large droplets. When a person coughs or sneezes, the infected droplets enter the air. Those droplets spread about six feet or two meters from their source. These droplets can also land on surfaces. A person who touches a contaminated surface could then touch their eyes, nose or mouth and become infected. People shed the virus before they notice symptoms of illness, so they could share their germs before they feel too ill to still be up and around. The virus can survive at room temperature and 40% to 50% humidity levels for at least three hours.

The Role of Your HVAC System and COVID-19 Infection

It is quite likely that an infected person will sneeze or cough. When this occurs, their virus-laden droplets could be pulled into the air returns in your home. The air gets heated or cooled by your home’s HVAC system and then returned to another part of the dwelling. There is a possibility that this could facilitate the spread of COVID-19 within your house.

UV Irradiation to Purify Your Home’s Air

Our HVAC technicians offer many helpful services, and they can install products that help purify your home’s air and reduce the number of allergens, bacteria and viruses. These indoor air quality solutions could lower your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 at home if someone in your household is infected. One such system is a UV air purification system. A UV disinfection system uses UV-C energy to kill viruses, bacteria, mold and parasites. It kills up to 99.9% of airborne germs.

How UV Disinfection Works

The UV-C can be installed within your HVAC system so that it gets rid of germs in the HVAC drain pan and drain line. The UV-C irradiation also kills viruses and bacteria that land on the system’s coils, filters and ducts. If a droplet settles out of the air and onto one of these surfaces, the UV irradiation system sterilizes the surface, lowering the risk of the viruses or bacteria becoming airborne and being distributed through your home’s air ducts and vents. UV-C disinfection has been shown to work against SARS and MERS, which are other types of coronaviruses, so it may also be equally effective in the case of COVID-19, which is a variant of the SARS coronavirus.

Air Filters for Indoor Air Quality Improvement

Your heating and air conditioning system’s air filter also plays a primary role in keeping your home’s air clean and healthy. If your HVAC system does not yet have a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) air filter, our technicians can install one for you. The HEPA air filters capture 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 microns or larger. However, the virus responsible for COVID-19 ranges in size from 0.06 and 0.14 microns. Although the most powerful HEPA filter may not capture any particles of the coronavirus, it could remove larger viruses, bacteria, mold spores and particulates. This could help you breathe more easily and reduce the number of contaminants in your home’s air. By lessening the number of particulates in your home’s air, your lungs may be cleaner. When your immune system is not already busy fighting off some other pathogen or dealing with allergies, you may have a better chance of fighting COVID-19 infection.

Humidifiers

Coronavirus survives longer at a low humidity level. A whole-home humidifier could also lower the risk of infection within a home. These systems work along with furnaces, heat pumps and central air conditioning systems.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

An air-source heat pump is another useful HVAC system for maintaining good indoor air quality. This system brings in fresh air from the outdoors and ventilates the indoor air to the outdoor environment. Bringing in fresh air could lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 in your home. It also reduces the load of particulates, mold spores and dust in your home’s air.

Fan-Only Function

Our technicians can show you how to set your programmable thermostat to constant fan or fan-only. This keeps the temperature steady and provides constant air circulation. If you opt to do this, you will need to change your HVAC air filter at least every 30 days. Changing the air filter frequently ensures that your HVAC system can work at its full capacity and peak energy-efficiency level.

Room Air Cleaners

A room air cleaner could be helpful for your home. Many people use them in their bedrooms while they sleep. These systems use activated charcoal to purify the air and remove pathogens. They cannot handle a whole-house airflow, but they can cleanse the air in a room of up to 400 square feet. Our HVAC technicians offer recommendations on room air cleaners. They can show you where to set them up and how to use them.

Our technicians also offer heating and air conditioning maintenance, repairs and installation services in order to keep you comfortable while you shelter in place or work from your home in Charlotte. Our preventive maintenance services, indoor air quality products and air purifiers also ensure that your home’s air is healthy all year long. We even handle take care of your ductwork or put in a standby generator. Call Integrity Heating & Cooling today for more information on the different types of air-purifying UV lights and other indoor air quality solutions we have available.

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