HVAC Best Practices for Avoiding the Flu and Coronavirus

 In Indoor Air Quality

It’s been a rough cold and flu season, and as the coronavirus dominates the news, it’s time to look at how you can best prevent the spread of illness with healthy indoor air from a well-maintained HVAC system.

Cold and flu viruses are so tiny you need a microscope to see them. Without warning they can invade your body and make you sick. The threat increases with lack of proper indoor air quality management because these viruses can get trapped in your home and quickly spread.

This is especially true during the winter months when your indoor relative humidity levels are low and the air is stagnant. Prevention is the best way to combat this unseen invader.

One of the easiest ways to improve indoor air quality in winter is to install a whole-house humidifer like Aprilaire to help control the spread of airborne viruses and other contaminants.

Control and Improve Indoor Air Quality

While it’s impossible to completely rid your home of cold and flu viruses, a whole-home indoor air quality solution can help you minimize the threats they present to your family. Three ways to do this are to control humidity, control air purity, and control air freshness.

Control Humidity

Low relative humidity can make you more susceptible to catching cold and flu viruses and has been linked to speedier progression and transmission of viruses in the air.*

As you can see from the chart below, low indoor relative humidity levels during the winter months correlate with a higher number of respiratory disease cases.

“Prevention of the common cold at present is our nearest approach to a cure. The most important prevention measure would appear to be proper regulation of the humidity, especially during the heating season with its distressing drying of the indoor air and the creation of an environment favorable to the cold bug.” – Dr. Joseph Lubart, expert on the common cold, New York State Journal of Medicine
Experts say one of the best ways to prevent the common cold is with humidity control:

Learn more about how relative humidity works here.

1. Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine article, Influenza Virus Transmission Is Dependent on Relative Humidity and Temperature; 2007; New York, NewYork, USA.
2. Oregon State University College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences

Control Air Purity

Particulate matter, including bacteria and viruses, is a leading cause of poor indoor air—found in 85% of homes.*

Only those air purifiers with the highest efficiency can consistently remove particles of the smallest size (0.3 – 1.0 microns), like bacteria and viruses.

The Aprilaire Model 5000 Air Purifier eliminates up to 98 percent of airborne bacteria-sized particles. And it removes up to 80 percent of airborne virus-sized particles—something no other air purifier in the industry can do.

Control Air Freshness/Ventilation

While today’s tightly sealed homes are great for conserving energy, they can also trap air that contains the cold and flu viruses. A whole-home ventilation solutions like an air exchanger can help rid your home of these contaminants.

Ventilation pulls fresh air into your home from the outside, while pushing stale, contaminated air out.


How Prevalent is the Flu?

Just this week, the CDC reported that every state in the continental U.S. showed widespread activity of the flu virus.

While this flu season’s rates of illness and death are not unusual on a national scale, the high levels of illness concentrated in particular areas show just how bad it can get when the flu virus strain takes hold.

And until we get that universal flu or coronavirus vaccine, the best defense is to protect yourself from the flu virus when in public and to try to maintain a healthy home environment.


If you have concerns or just need a check-up from one of our home HVAC consultants, please get in touch with us and we’ll help figure out a plan for your home.



Pharo Heating & Cooling is a full-service HVAC contractor in Madison. Our team provides top quality service for new construction and replacement furnace and air conditioner needs. For garage heating ideas and solutions, trust the experts at Pharo Heating. For more information about annual furnace inspection or concerns, give us a call at 608-849-5410 or submit a contact form through our website.

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