What can the public do to defend against COVID-19? One simple answer is to ramp up your home’s humidity. Increasing humidity can protect against COVID-19 in two ways – by supporting your respiratory tract’s immune response, and by causing airborne coronavirus to become unstable and less infectious quicker.
Increasing Humidity Can Cause Coronavirus to Die Off Quicker
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can float around your home in the air. It only has a limited amount of time before heat, light and humidity dissolves its “spikes” that it needs to latch onto your cells. This is called airborne decay. These viruses, like all viruses, are more subject to this airborne decay when these environmental conditions increase:
- UV Light
Numerous studies have shown that flu viruses, including the coronavirus, thrive in cold dry conditions, which causes them to become more of a problem during the winter cold and flu season. The estimated airborne decay of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 occurs much more quickly in heat, humidity and UV light.
How Can I Increase the UV Light, Temperature and Relative Humidity in My Home?
It is easy to increase the temperature in your home by raising the set point on your thermostat, but doing so can lower your home’s humidity level quickly, so it is important that you use humidification devices to keep the humidity levels in your home high during the heating season. Whole-home humidifiers on your HVAC system work the best – make sure they are working effectively by turning them on “winter” mode, and by turning the humidistat up above 40%. Also make sure you have your whole-home humidifier serviced annually to remove mineral build up.
Another option is adding UV light. The best option is to install a UV lamp in your HVAC system. The circulating air will cause viruses to pass by the UV lamp and become inert before they can enter the air you breathe. An even better solution is to install an Air Scrubber indoor air quality system. Air Scrubbers not only kill viruses when they pass by its UV light, but they also eradicate them through the non-toxic hydrogen vapor that it releases into your home’s air and surfaces.
Humidity Helps Your Respiratory System’s Immune Response Work Better
Increasing humidity in your home during the winter months can help your body defend against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The more humidity in your home, the more ability your body has to use its natural mucous defense to eliminate viruses in your respiratory tract. The human respiratory tract has a natural immune response against airborne viruses and other particulates called the cilia. These tiny hair-like projections move mucous up your windpipe so you can cough it, and the contaminants it contains, up and out of your lungs. The dryer the air in your home, the thicker is this mucous, and the less effective it is in extricating viruses out of our lungs.
How Much Humidity is Enough?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%. And the more humidity you have in your home, the quicker viruses become unstable and unable to infect you. However, too much humidity can cause unwelcome effects as well, such as warped wood floors and furniture, and the growth of mold, bacteria and mites. A humidity level of 50% is generally recommended as the sweet spot to prevent viral growth and keep our respiratory system’s immune response strong, while at the same time protecting your home from damage and protect your body from allergic reactions to increased mold and mites. The age and type of construction has a bearing on whether your home can handle a 50% humidity level.
How Can I Measure My Home’s Humidity Level?
When your skin, lips and nasal passages start to itch or crack, or you start shocking your family and pets when you touch them, that is a sure sign that your home’s relative humidity is too low. But how do you know exactly what your home’s humidity level is?
One convenient way to track your home’s humidity is through a thermostat with an integrated humidistat. Humidistats measure the relative humidity of the air surrounding their sensors.
Battling Mineral Buildup in Humidifiers
As you battle the dry air in your home, you may also find yourself battling mineral buildup. Humidification usually involves using warm air from a furnace blown through a saturated panel. When the untreated water from municipal water sources comes into contact with the components of humidifiers (and also water heaters, coffee makers and dishwashers), the minerals that exist in this hard water build up on their surfaces and eventually prohibit them from working or reduce their effectiveness. That is why yearly maintenance is critical for whole-home humidifiers. A water softening system in your home will help your humidifier operate all heating season. Water softening systems also prevent buildup in your home’s plumbing and plumbing fixtures, causing both to last longer and to help prevent clogs. Your Anthony PHCE technician can provide suggestions based on your home’s current system.
Contact Anthony PHCE for Humidification and Indoor Air Quality Solutions
If you need humidification, indoor air quality or water softening solutions for your home, our expert technicians and plumbers at Anthony Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric are here to help. Contact us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816) or chat with us on our website at www.AnthonyPHCE.com.
The top electrical product trend in 2021 is smart products. These Wi-Fi-enabled devices that talk to your cell phone remotely now include thermostats, doorbells, smoke detectors, lights, and cameras. Enter the era of whole-home automation systems like Anthony MyHome, in which you can monitor your entire home remotely, including your outlets, garage door, front door lock, sump pump and even your water. Many smart items also contain voice activation, allowing for voice commands with these devices.
Smarter Smart Speakers
Google, Alexa, or Siri? Yes! Most people have used a voice-activated “smart” speaker, allowing you the convenience of searching the internet through voice commands, such as “Hey Google, what is the score of the football game,” as well as to give commands to other smart devices, such as “Alexa, unlock the door.” But something to note, Google, Alexa and Siri devices will not talk to each other, only to their own family. For example, Google will only talk to Google devices and so forth. In a world of competing voice activation platforms, there are finally smart speakers that work with multiple versions. And they make smart soundbars too, to match your smart TV. Now isn’t that smart?
Electric Car Chargers
Electric vehicle supply equipment, or “EVSE,” is the proper term for what is commonly called electric car chargers or charging stations. The actual charging equipment is built into electric vehicles; the EVSE provides a safe supply of electricity to the vehicle using your home’s electricity. Most electric cars come with a Level 1 charging cord, which plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet, but the drawback can be a slow charging process. Therefore, purchasing a Level 2 charging cord which plugs into a 240-volt electrical supply is recommended. Level 2 charging stations typically deliver anywhere from 16 amps to 80 amps of power. If you plan to eventually upgrade your electric cars at a later date, it is recommended that you have a charging device that can provide you with the most amperage. And in case you were wondering, electric vehicle supply equipment also comes in smart versions, which you can talk to remotely with your phone.
Smart Recessed Lighting
Recessed ceiling lights, loved for their modern look and even lighting, are now smart too! These “smart” lights can be activated via voice, app or even the clap of your hands. They can dim from soft light to bright, from warm light to cool, and can morph into hundreds of different colors. They can even pulse and change colors to the beat of music or gaming sounds. And multiple lights can be configured into complex scenes to match holiday decor or to provide a specific ambience.
More and more decorative indoor and outdoor lighting solutions are becoming “smart.” Check with your Anthony PHCE electrician to see what smart options are available before you purchase lighting for your home.
Smart Ceiling Fans
Smart ceiling fans can be connected to your thermostat and be programmed to turn on and off, optimizing the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Some also have reversible motors for bi-directional blade movement, which means no more teetering on a ladder to switch the fan direction each season. And many have lights which are smart as well.
Electric Meter Remote Usage Monitor
Electricity meter usage monitors are the newest way to monitor your electricity usage, and therefore saving money on electricity bills. Do you know which of your appliances use the most electricity in your home right now? Usage monitors attached to your electrical panel sit discretely within your panel box and send usage data to your phone. These monitors can detect power outages, and sniff out any energy hogs in your home, allowing you to unplug or replace these offenders.
Your Appliances are Surfing the Web
The internet is everywhere, even in your appliances. Your refrigerator, stove, washer, and dryer now have computers which send and receive updates, data and communicate to and from your mobile devices. This type of technology is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Surge Protection – It’s Smart Too!
As you fill your home with smart items that are Wi-Fi-enabled and equipped with their own computers, it becomes necessary to consider a whole-home point-of-entry surge protector to keep your devices safe from power surges. Which begs the question, are there smart surge protectors? There certainly are.
Curious about Smart Products? We Can Help
Anthony PHCE electricians can install any smart products that your home desires. Call our “smart” electricians today at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y 268-4669 (913) or (816) and we will get you plugged into to these exciting new electrical products.