The airborne transmission of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 via aerosol particles in indoor environment seems to be strongly influenced by relative humidity, according to an August 2020 analysis of the 10 most relevant international studies on the subject. As a result it is recommend that indoor air quality be monitored in addition to the usual measures such as social distancing and masks.
Maintaining a relative indoor humidity of 40 to 60 percent could help reduce the spread of colds, flu, and coronavirus and their absorption through the nasal mucous membrane.
What can’t be measured can’t be managed so as an important first step, invest in an inexpensive indoor humidity gauge called a hygrometer. You should be able to locate one for less than $10.
Homes that use electric heat often result in drier indoor climates. So it is even more important to monitor indoor humidity if you have a heat pump, electric furnace, electric baseboards or use space heaters.
Conversely, high humidity can also be detrimental to indoor air quality by promoting mold and mildew growth. That’s why having an accurate measurement of indoor humidity is so important.
In addition to proper indoor humidity levels, good air filtration also improves air quality. That’s why it is so important to routinely change or clean your HVAC system’s air filtration media. Rule of thumb: check the filter everytime you receive your electric bill.
Generally we recommend a less expensive filter that you change monthly. While pleated air filters tout the ability to filter out allergens in your home they can reduce HVAC system airflow which could damage the system. If you do want to use a pleated filter, please consult your HVAC service provider to determine which product meets your system specifications. You could also invest in an air filter gauge to measure the airflow between the filter and the HVAC system.
Finally, it is worth a discussion with your HVAC service provider to discuss fresh air ventilation. Newer homes are built so air tight today that whole-home ventilation solutions like an air exchanger can help rid your home of contaminents.
Take care of yourself this fall and winter and don’t forget your flu shot.
Find out more about Tideland EMC's response to COVID-19.