washing hands

5 Housekeeping Tips for Cold and Flu Season

As we head into “cold and flu season,” it’s essential to take extra precautions to protect our homes against germs, especially as we continue battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The tips below can help you maintain a sanitary home with healthy indoor air quality so that you and your household can enjoy the fall and winter months, cold-free.

1. Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces frequently.

“High-touch surfaces” is just another term for areas people frequently touch. Many viruses and bacteria spread when someone touches an infected object and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. The CDC provides some common examples of high-touch surfaces that you might not think of, including doorknobs, light switches, handles, keyboards, remote controls, faucets, and one of the biggest culprits--portable electronic devices like phones and tablets.

2. Routinely wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

It’s particularly important to wash your hands after returning home from working or running errands, as you might have picked up some germs while being out and about. When washing your hands, make sure to take a full 20 seconds, and don’t forget to get under your nails and between your fingers. For a complete rundown on when and how to wash your hands, review these guidelines from the CDC’s health experts.

3. Keep hand sanitizer handy.

To be effective, the hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Keep a bottle by the front door and near other high-touch surfaces (like your TV remotes and keyboard) so that you can use it before scratching an itch on your face. Many hand sanitizers are manufactured abroad, but if you’d like to buy from brands that are made in the U.S.A., check out this list.

4. Upgrade your HVAC system’s filter.

The higher your air filter’s efficiency rating, the smaller the particles it can filter out of your HVAC system. This, in turn, helps improve your indoor air quality because your HVAC system will be circulating cleaner air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) reports that air filters with a MERV greater than or equal to 13 are efficient at capturing airborne viruses. Just make sure that you don’t put in a filter with a higher efficiency rating than your system can handle, or else you’ll block airflow into the equipment.

5. Let your home air out periodically.

Leaving your windows and doors open is one of the easiest ways to improve your indoor air quality on a budget. Doing this lets fresh outdoor air trade places with indoor air that’s polluted with dust, mold spores, VOCs, gases from your combustion appliances--and possibly harmful viruses and bacteria.

For additional protection against viruses and bacteria...

If you’d like to equip your home with an extra layer of protection against harmful germs, consider installing a UV air scrubber. These systems can be easily built into your existing HVAC system. They prevent viruses and bacteria from spreading by using UV-C light to destroy the germs’ DNA and RNA. This renders the germs unable to reproduce, which means they can’t spread and infect.

At Tom's Mechanical, Inc., we offer professional, reliable indoor air quality solutions, including UV air scrubber installations. Learn more by contacting us online or calling today at: (972) 388-3669.