Your goal should always be to keep your family healthy and protected. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it's even more important to keep everyone healthy. Learning about how the coronavirus is spread can help you to take necessary precautions—and this includes changing AC filters periodically through the pandemic.
The pandemic is changing the way that we live our lives. By taking an active approach to protecting your family, it can be easier to stop the spread of the virus and start to flatten the curve. All it takes is a bit of knowledge on your part.
How is the Coronavirus Transmitted?
The coronavirus is an airborne virus. When people sneeze or cough, the virus is transmitted through the air. It's the reason why the CDC is urging people to maintain a six-foot rule when out in public. All it takes is someone sneezing or coughing near you for you to, potentially, be infected. Even if you don't exhibit any symptoms, you could be a carrier.
All it takes is a bit of saliva or mucus for most of the transmissions to occur. A sneeze or a cough can send a droplet traveling through the air – and knowing this means that you need to do what it takes to protect your family.
You can also stay connected with what the CDC is saying about the coronavirus. As scientists and doctors learn more about the virus and how it's being transmitted, they're sharing the information about with the general public. There are suggestions that the virus is changing, adding different symptoms. This means that the way in which it can be transmitted may change in the future, too. By following the CDC, you can find out tips to protect your family so that you can take the necessary precautions.
The Importance of Changing Your Home's Air Filters
The airborne transmission of the virus brings up a very important question. How big of a role does your HVAC system play in spreading the disease? According to the CDC, it's more about a large droplet transfer than anything. If someone coughs or sneezes close to you, a droplet can fly through the air – hence the six-foot rule. The droplet containing the virus could exit a person through a cough or sneeze and land into the mouth, eyes, or nose of someone else, causing infection.
There are also intermediate surfaces — your table, kitchen counters, doorknobs, phone screens, and more. It's why people are told not to touch their faces during the COVID-19 crisis in between touching a surface and washing their hands.
While droplets and surfaces are the predominant ways to spread the coronavirus, there Is also the possibility of airborne transmission. That's when you have to look at the return grille of your HVAC system. Infectious particles within the air can stay present long enough to be collected. They can collect on the air filter and spread through the ducts, infecting people in other spaces of the building.
You don't want to worry about the transmission of the coronavirus within your home. As such, it's important to consider replacing the air filter now and throughout the length of the pandemic.
Ways to Protect Your Family During the COVID-19 Crisis
You've likely heard about "shelter in place" regulations and social distancing. You've also been told about the importance of washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Sanitizer, too, is an important way to protect your family when exposed to external germs. What about your air filter, though? How long has it been in place? Is it capable of filtering out all of the bacteria and germs that are in the air? If you're not sure whether it's getting the job done or not, it's time to change it.
Depending on the size of your home, there may be multiple air return filters. Be sure that the filters are changed on all of them at the same time. Particularly during the crisis, you can't be too safe. It's better to replace the filter once a month so that you're not accidentally allowing germs to be circulated around the home. To avoid forgetting to change the filters, set a reminder on your phone or circle the replacement date on your home calendar.
Replacing your filter should always be done, even outside of a pandemic. The frequency, however, changes. When you have pets and more people in your home, you should change your filters more frequently than if you were living alone with no pets. Additionally, you can explore different types of air filters. The MERV rating determines just how much is capable of being trapped inside of the filter. The higher the MERV rating, the more capable they are of trapping smaller particles. When you want to be extra cautious during the pandemic, switching your filter to a higher MERV rating can add a bit more protection.
What else can you do?
While you're being told to shelter in place and maintain social distancing, there's a lot that you can do to protect your family. Focus on the health and overall maintenance of your HVAC system so that you can avoid any accidental transmissions of the virus. If you believe you have come into contact with someone who has the virus, quarantine yourself for two weeks. Keep a close eye on your symptoms. If you develop a fever and start to feel unwell, get to a doctor or a testing site so that you can confirm whether you have COVID-19 or not. In general, avoid going out. When you need items, use shipping and delivery services. Take advantage of store pick-up items, too. This way, you minimize the contact that you have with people in order to avoid bringing back the virus to your family.
At Austin Enterprises, we have a comprehensive maintenance service. Contact us today to learn how you can schedule AC maintenance and learn about the frequency in which you should be changing your home's air filters.