The second wave of COVID-19 has arrived. Case counts are climbing every day. We expect that the Provincial Government will continue to constrain our ability to congregate socially not only in the community but also with our families and friends. It was relatively easy to maintain social distances from one another this summer when we could spend the majority of our time outdoors. It is a whole other ballgame now that fall and soon winter will be upon us. We will all definitely be spending a lot more time in our homes. Our home is our oasis and we need to ensure that it stays that way.
We receive a lot of questions every day about how we can help folks improve the quality of the air in their homes. Good practice would be to eliminate or isolate the source of the problem. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about the coronavirus. However, we can improve ventilation and filtration. Good mechanical ventilation is now standard in the Ontario Building Code for new homes, but few older homes have been retrofitted to date. A ventilator becomes the lungs of your home. A steady supply of fresh, filtered, outdoor air is good not only for keeping ahead of the coronavirus but also for controlling the levels of humidity, chemicals in the air and carbon dioxide in your home. Installations are sometimes difficult due to physical constraints around common venting of combustion appliances and finished basements. The cost, however, is reasonable, usually in the range of $3,000 – $5,000 for a typical home. This is the single best thing you can do in your home.
The next thing we can do is improve the filtration system. Firstly, AtlasCare can upgrade furnace filters. We usually recommend a deep pleated filter to maximize the surface area and trap the most particles. The filter efficiency or MERV rating is important. Too low and not much gets filtered out. Too high and the air flow can become restricted. We can advise you on the best filter for your home. A HEPA filter can take it to the next level. This is a hospital grade filter that can remove very small particles. Lastly, we can install a germicidal ultraviolet light. While research on their efficacy with the coronavirus is yet to be established, these are known to kill many other viruses.
In my last letter, I mentioned that supply chain issues were starting to rear their ugly head with the supply for furnaces. That hasn’t changed and now we can definitely add UV lights and HEPA filters to the list. School boards and office buildings have been buying them up in quantity and we are now looking at 4-6 weeks to get these units. If you are thinking of getting one for your home this winter be proactive and get one on order with us now.
Stay healthy everyone.
Roger Grochmal, P.Eng.