For a long time, it was believed that the flu could only be spread through coughing and sneezing or touching a contaminated item. But research over the past few years has shown that the common cold and flu virus can live in the air for several minutes — sometimes even hours!
If you make sure that your heating and cooling system is working properly, it can help you to fight off the cold and flu this season. Getting a furnace tune-up will make sure that your system is functioning at its best. It will also improve your indoor air quality. With better indoor air quality, those nasty viruses might not be able to survive as long.
A Dirty Furnace Creates Dirty Lungs
Your furnace is directly linked to your lung health, so take a look at your furnace. Now, imagine that inside your body! It’s probably not something you would want, but ultimately, a dirty furnace equals dirty lungs.
In the winter months, chances are that you spend a lot of your time indoors. All that time you are breathing in particles of dust, germs, viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants. What you don’t breathe in can build up in your heating and cooling system, ducts, and vents and eventually recirculate back through your home.
That’s where a furnace tune-up can help. Scheduling a furnace tune-up can do more than prevent sudden, uncomfortable temperature shifts in your home. The decision to hire a professional in Ottawa County, MI, for a furnace tune-up can make the difference between catching a cold or the flu and staying healthy.
After all, a dirty furnace has the potential to emit nasty and unwanted toxic compounds, carbon monoxide, and other airborne toxins. A gas furnace is more susceptible to some of these hazards, but toxic fumes are problematic for all types of HVAC systems and your family!
Inhaling gases and particles can lead to a wide variety of health problems, like respiratory issues.
Why You Should Have a Furnace Tune-Up
Most HVAC experts recommend that you get a tune-up for your heating and cooling system twice a year: once in the spring for your cooling system and then a furnace tune-up in the fall, before winter and the accompanying viruses arrive.
Regular maintenance will prevent breakdowns and help save you money by keeping your energy bills low. A furnace tune-up will also help improve your indoor air quality.
Over time, dirt and dust settle in your system. When you start your furnace, debris is shuffled around the ductwork and eventually into the air you breathe.
Before you fire it up for the first time this season, call Lake Michigan Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, an HVAC professional in Ottawa County, MI, to clean your furnace. Keeping it clean will help keep airborne contaminants—like bacteria and viruses—from spreading throughout your home.
Clean Your Vents
Another step you can take toward improving your indoor air quality and preventing the spread of the flu is to clean your air vents. You can hire a professional for this, but you can also do it yourself before you turn your furnace on for the first time.
Just like your furnace, debris can build up on your vents. Dust, pet dander, viruses, and bacteria will build up in your vents when they are not in use. Once the air kicks on, they begin swirling around your house and can make their way into your body.
Vents are simple to clean. Use a disinfecting cloth to wipe down each vent before the first time you need to turn the heat on. It will improve your indoor air quality and might prevent you from getting sick.
Freshen Up the Air
It is not often thought of to open windows during the frigid months. But when the windows stay sealed for long periods, you breathe the same stale (and potentially contaminated) air over and over again. Fresh air is good for your heating and cooling system, too!
Open some windows, and let the fresh air circulate for a few minutes. If it has reached extremely cold temperatures and cracking a window seems out of the question, find other ways to circulate the air. Use the exhaust vents in the kitchen and bathroom or turn on ceiling fans to help improve indoor air quality.
Install an Air Purifier
Another way to freshen the air in your home is to install an air purifier. Most people think of portable plug-in units when they talk about an air purifier. These are an affordable option and work well in small spaces, but to protect your whole house, you need to invest in a whole-home air purifier.
Air purifiers help by circulating air that otherwise wouldn’t move throughout the house. Since cold and flu viruses easily spread in homes with poor air circulation, investing in a professionally installed air purifier will help keep your family healthy.
Filter the Air
The filtration system in your home plays a vital role in keeping viruses and bacteria away from your loved ones. Unfortunately, the air filtration system is commonly the primary source of toxins and illness because your heating and cooling system can spread these contaminants through the air.
Each heating and cooling system has a filtration system built into it to prevent it from getting clogged with tiny particles. You should replace these filters more often during the cold and flu season, usually monthly. New and clean air filters will help to keep indoor air quality at a healthy level.
If someone in your home has recently been sick, you might consider changing the filters a little early.
Along with regular filter changes, you can also consider upgrading your filter technology. The filter for your current heating and cooling system may not be designed to prevent illness as well as other types of filters available today.
If you aren’t sure what type of upgrade you need, ask Lake Michigan Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, your Ottawa County, MI, HVAC and plumbing service provider, for a recommendation.
Control Indoor Humidity
Bacteria and viruses can linger in dry air, making the spread of germs easier. Adding a humidifier to your heating and cooling system keeps the right amount of moisture in the air. If you do get hit with the cold or flu, having a humidifier can alleviate the symptoms.
If your heating and cooling system already has a humidifier installed, have an HVAC professional check it while they are performing your furnace tune-up. This ensures that the humidifier is working properly and won’t create too much humidity in your home. Too moist of an environment can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
Get Ahead of Cold and Flu Season with a Furnace Tune-Up Today
If you are ready to get ahead of cold and flu season, start with a furnace tune-up from Lake Michigan Heating, Cooling, Plumbing to improve your indoor air quality and keep your family healthy.
When our skilled HVAC technicians come out, we’ll inspect your system from top to bottom, making sure that it’s ready for anything that the winter season might bring. If any component needs to be repaired or replaced, count on our technicians to get the job done right.