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3 Ways to Get Ready for Flu Season

Reduce Your Chances of Getting The Flu

Is winter synonymous with cold and flu outbreaks in your house? If so, you’re not alone — each year, around 700,000 people are hospitalized due to severe flu and last year was a particularly rough season. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to lessen your family’s chances of coming down with the flu.

Hopefully you’re already employing good handwashing technique and avoiding exposure to sick family members or coworkers. Both of these practices help greatly in preventing the spread of sickness. Here are three more ways to keep influenza at bay as we approach peak flu season:

1. Get a Flu Shot

Flu season starts in October and lasts until the spring – that’s a long time to remain germ-free without a little help. The first and most obvious way you can prepare for flu season is by getting a flu shot. Remember, the flu shot varies in effectiveness: According to the CDC, over the last 8 years, the shot has been between 36-60% effective from season to season. However, it remains the agency’s top recommendation for flu prevention.

2. Buy a Humidifier

Try as you may to avoid it, someone in your family is bound to bring the flu virus home from work, school, or everyday errands. If you have small children, we don’t have to tell you that it feels impossible to avoid tracking germs home from school or childcare. There is hope, though: Controlling the humidity levels at home may help you stop influenza in its tracks after it comes through the door. That’s because cold and flu germs have a hard time thriving in humid environments.

One study funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that when the humidity level was at 7-23%, more than 70% of flu particles can survive for more than an hour. When the humidity was raised to 43-57%, only between 14-22% of flu particles remained infectious.

In short, using a humidifier can lower the likelihood that family members will infect each other if any flu-related germs are carried into your home.

3. Give Your HVAC System a Tune-Up

Does your HVAC system have an air purifying feature? If not, an HVAC professional can add one and increase the quality of air filtration in your home. A good air purification system will eradicate nearly all airborne germs (as much as 95%).

You should also treat your HVAC to new filters before flu season, whether or not you have an advanced purification system. Increasing the MERV value of your filters will allow your heater to catch smaller particles, making it more likely to capture influenza before circulating contaminated air into another room.

Finally, you can add a UV light to your HVAC system to kill even more germs before they enter your vents. Just as UV lights are often used to sterilize the air quality in hospitals and medical centers, they help you keep your home from becoming a welcoming environment to dangerous viruses.

Are you ready to tackle flu season head on? Start planning today! Contact Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating to schedule a duct cleaning, filter change, and evaluation of your current system. If you work toward flu-proofing your home now, you may finally enjoy a winter without taking a sick day! For more posts on how to make it through the winter season, check out our blog compilation.

Do I Need a Dehumidifier?

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

Working alongside an HVAC system, a dehumidifier creates a comfortable, low humidity environment, improves air quality, and eliminates dampness. A dehumidifier also protects your home from structural damage by limiting the buildup of mold or mildew — both of which could affect carpet, drywall, and insulation.

Dehumidifiers are a useful addition to any San Diego home because they protect your property and health. In fact, too much humidity in the air could lead to respiratory problems, allergies, and other ailments.

If you want to enjoy great air quality in your home, a dehumidifier could be a crucial component to include with your home HVAC system. Below, we detail how a dehumidifier works, the models available, and how having one could improve your indoor air quality.

A dehumidifier pulls in the surrounding air with a fan and removes excess moisture — helping to banish condensation and reduce dampness. There are two types of dehumidifiers, which work to remove moisture in different ways: the compressor dehumidifier and the desiccant dehumidifier.

  • The compressor dehumidifier (also known as a refrigerant dehumidifier) draws air through a filter and over cold metal coils to encourage condensation. The system collects the resulting water in a tank.
  • The desiccant dehumidifier uses absorbent materials to remove water from the air. The system then heats this material to pull the moisture into a tank.

The type of dehumidifier that you choose will depend on many factors including your desired price point, size, portability, and potential energy savings.

So what are the benefits of using a dehumidifier in your home?

Benefits of a Dehumidifier

Reduce Mold and Mildew Growth

Beyond an unattractive look and odor, mold and mildew could also cause significant risks to your health. Mold may lead to a range of serious conditions, including respiratory problems and issues with your heart.

By reducing the moisture in the air, dehumidifiers prevent mold spores from spreading and growing, which supports better air quality and respiratory health.

Minimize Dust Mites

If you’re always itching, wheezing, or suffering from allergies, then you might benefit from buying a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier helps reduce the production of allergens like dust mites, which thrive best in warm, moist environments and are often found in carpets, beds, curtains, and other humid areas in your home.

If the humidity levels in your home are over 55%, the dust mite population will thrive. Using a dehumidifier could help reduce the humidity and prevent allergens from affecting you.

Diminish Musty Smells

Moisture causes a host of problems within a home, including an unattractive, musty smell. When moisture aids the growth of mildew and mold, these fungi release gases that are then absorbed by your walls, furniture, and fabrics. Even worse, it is often difficult to remove this smell from your home.

Fortunately, placing a dehumidifier in the spaces most susceptible to dampness, like your laundry room and basement, may be enough to banish unpleasant odors.

Improve Air Quality

Achieving better interior air quality requires more than cutting down on chemical cleaning products or not smoking indoors. The humidity levels in your air can make it harder to achieve the right balance of oxygen in your home. While air purifiers and filters help to minimize some of the problems associated with poor air quality, a dehumidifier also plays a crucial role in helping you to breathe easy.

No matter how many purifiers you own or the number of houseplants you have helping to clean the air, it’s hard to keep the oxygen in your property at a healthy level if there’s too much moisture.

Protect Your Home

As mentioned above, one of the most dangerous results of excess moisture in the home is the spread of mold. When moisture begins to build up in your home, it’s not just dangerous to your health; it also jeopardizes one of your biggest investments: your home.

According to one report, up to 50% of all structures are in a condition that supports the buildup of “biological pollutants.” Whenever the humidity in your home is over 60%, mold begins to build up, weakening the supports in your home and damaging furnishings.

Excess water in the air causes metal fittings to rust, support beams to crack and split, and wooden flooring to rot. A dehumidifier is an easy way to prevent your home from slowly deteriorating.

Lower Your Utility Bill

Finally, a humid house is harder to cool and heat, because your HVAC system must work harder to dry the air before it can change the temperature. People in San Diego often find that the biggest detriment to their comfort isn’t necessarily the heat but the fluctuating humidity, as wet air feels warmer than dry air at the same temperature.

When your temperature system has to work harder, the result is a bigger drain on your energy bill, which means more outgoing cash each month. A dehumidifier could save you a lot of money in the long-term.

Are you ready to improve your air quality, protect your health, and defend your home? It might be time to invest in a dehumidifier. Talk to the experts at Bob Jenson about how a dehumidifier could work with your HVAC system to provide cleaner, healthier air in your home.

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