The world feels like it’s in a tailspin right now, doesn’t it? We’re not going to sugarcoat it — times are tough. There’s a lot of fear, uncertainty, and confusion right now, so above all else, we just want to extend our warmest thoughts to everyone during this time. Richmond is an incredibly resilient and strong city, and we will get through this.
Around the world, people are self quarantined as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the World Health Organization has said, we’re in uncharted waters. Your home is your refuge, so it’s important to do everything you can to maintain good indoor air quality. At W.G. Speeks, we want you to stay healthy and safe, so we’ve put together some tips to help you get through this challenging time.
Open Your Windows
Don’t rely on your home heating and cooling systems to bring fresh air into your home. In fact, many models don’t. As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises: “Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate.”
Plus, because we’re not going out anywhere, opening the windows might lift your spirits. While we’re all a little worried or stressed right now, experts have said that “when the windows are open and fresh air flows indoors, we’re healthier, in mind and body. Our moods improve and our brains function better.” So crack open a window, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
Take Off Your Shoes
In some cultures, it’s considered rude to wear shoes in the house, but it’s not uncommon here in the United States. With everything happening, it might be about time to rethink our attitudes on this, for multiple reasons.
First, you can track potentially harmful bacteria into your home. Given our current situation, it’s probably best to avoid this. Additionally, environmental toxins and pollutants, as well as allergens, can hitch a ride into your sanctuary on the soles of your shoes. This can pose a threat to your health and make your HVAC system have to work harder. Skip the risk and leave your shoes at the door.
Do More Laundry
How many surfaces do you come into contact with when you’re out in public? Did you lean against the dirty handle of the shopping cart or the counter at the bank? Did you brush up against a stranger in the milk aisle? We don’t need to panic or be paranoid, but during this moment in time, it’s worth considering.
There may be times when you’ve got to run to the grocery store for supplies or go outside for a walk. You could be bringing contaminants and allergens into your home, which can add to your HVAC’s burden. Remove those clothes as soon as you enter your home and add them to the laundry pile. The risk to your health is probably low, but when we know so little, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Keep Floors Clean
No one wants to get down and scrub the floors right now, but putting in some effort here could make a huge difference for your heating and cooling system. To prevent the buildup of debris in your air vents, registers and air filter, this is an important preventative step you can take.
The good news is that, if you leave your shoes at the door, you’ll be making it easier to keep your floors clean. Above that, be sure to stay on top of sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming as this can help prevent the accumulation of dust and other particles in your living environment.
Peak Allergy Season
On top of everything else, it’s allergy season. We’ve already seen higher than average pollen counts in the area, and as Dr. Michael Blumberg with the Allergy Partners of Richmond explains, “This year is especially unusual because it never really got cold so nothing ever really died out like it usually does…This is kind of a perfect storm for people with allergies.”
We already know that Richmond is frequently listed among the worst cities in America for allergies. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be proactive about keeping allergens out of your home and maintaining proper indoor air quality.
Change Air Filters Often
You might be feeling somewhat helpless right now, but the good news is that there are small steps you can take to be proactive. One of the most important things you can do for your home and your family is to change your air filters often.
This is especially important if you have a large family, pets, or a loved one has a chronic condition such as asthma or allergies. We know it’s hard to keep on top of everything right now, but we highly recommend swapping out your air filter at least every 30 days.
We wish you all the best in the weeks ahead, and we believe in the strength and unity of the amazing people in Richmond, Virginia. We’ve been proud to serve this incredible community for more than 75 years. We will get through this together.