Put this into perspective. The average person breathes about 23,000 breaths a day. This equates to about 3000 gallons of air.
Compare that to the one gallon of water that we need to drink during the course of a day to stay hydrated.
Is one more important than the other?
All this attention is on water – There are 25 different brands of clean, filtered, bottled water on store shelves right now that we pay a ridiculous amount of money for.
We’re constantly filtering our water and paying attention to our water.
3000 gallons of air and 1 gallon of water is what we need daily.
Marketing plays such a big role in what you consider important.
The past five months we have all been living through this pandemic.
Germs come and go, viruses come and go.
But one thing remains consistent. We all care about our friends and family and staying healthy.
That’s what this comes back to in terms of the HVAC industry. We’ve been here all along providing you with mechanics and contractors comfort right systems installed here. How to be comfortable.
There are 3 ways for germs to spread.
Direct contact – shaking your hand.
Indirect contact – Let’s say I’m sick and I touch something. You come behind me and touch the same thing. Now you have a chance of getting sick. And then thirdly,
Airborne transmission – Coughing and sneezing create aerosols. That’s why we’re wearing masks. This is the world we live in as HVAC professionals. We’ve been talking about this for years.
We’ve all learned over the past five or six months about the importance of washing our hands, and by no means am I downplaying the importance of that.
And yet, slowly but surely the conversation is finally coming around to the problems of airborne transmission and what needs to be done with our HVAC mechanical systems.
We’ve been in this business for a very, very long time. This is nothing new to us. It’s like suddenly the world is paying attention to what we have been screaming from the rooftops for a long time.
But the other thing is how easy some of these solutions are. We’re going to get into but you combine those two things. We’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s really important. And it just feels like now the world’s paying attention to what we’ve been screaming about forever.
Indoor air quality has everything to do with minimizing the risk of getting sick.
So, yes, you know us in the mechanical world in this HVAC industry, we have the solutions there and available to homeowners and business owners.
We are homeowners and indoor air quality is important to me. I have a daughter who has allergies to pets. We have pets. Some of my family members, including myself, have respiratory compromised conditions.
IAQ for Homeowners
I want to protect myself and my family in my home.
There’s this aerosolized virus that is a little out of control. Nobody fully understands it yet.
We know there are young people with no compromised systems that are getting sick and dying. We don’t fully understand this virus at all.
So as a homeowner, I want to know how to protect my family. I also know the only place I really control the air I breathe is in my own home.
I want to know how I can take this group of people who have a compromised respiratory problem. How do I keep them safe?
That’s coming at it from a homeowner’s point of view.
I think every homeowner is asking those same questions right now. I also think the average homeowner doesn’t think of their heating and air conditioning person as the key person that can help protect their homes.
Instead, I am seeing an uptick in homeowners spending their money on single room air purifying systems as a way of controlling the air they breathe.
There are whole-home indoor air quality solutions that can solve this problem for less than you think.
The Importance of Fresh Air
We spend 90% of our time indoors. Fresh outdoor air is important and cleaner than your indoor air.
You have heating and cooling systems to make you comfortable for those times that you can’t leave the windows and doors open. When it’s 90 degrees outside and you know 90% relative humidity, you’re not going to open up windows to let fresh air in.
Conversely, when it’s 30 degrees outside, you’re not going to open the windows then to let fresh air in.
What most people don’t know is there are fresh air exchangers on the market, heat recovery ventilators, and energy recovery ventilators that will constantly bring fresh air into your space.
You likely paid a pretty penny for the home that you’re in that’s really nice and tight and energy-efficient. But when it comes to fresh air, we can’t get the air into the space without those doors or windows open… unless you have one of these air exchangers.
What’s crazy is none of these things are ridiculously expensive. Every one of these solutions has a very reasonable price tag attached to it.
MERV 13 Air Filter
If you have a forced-air system in your house, you’re going to have an air filter. Most likely half of the residential market has a one-inch air filter.
Studies have shown residential air filters high-efficiency residential air filters are effective at knocking down viruses you know, it’s a numbers game there are no silver bullets here but the more strategies you can employ within the space so that you reduce the risk of getting sick.
Most homeowners are going to Home Depot and buy some kind of expensive filter.
Few homeowners are talking to their heating and cooling professional because they want to DIY or going to want an immediate air cleaner.
But not all systems can handle the added resistance.
Merv 13 air filters are what’s recommended by all agencies, EPA included. Some systems can’t handle the fan or high static, but that’s okay.
There are still HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters or arresters that actually do knockdown viruses and a lot of other things in the home.
HEPA air filtration is stigmatized as hard to install. They’re not that hard to install.
There are whole home versions of the ones you buy for room only. This is hospital-grade filtration that’s available for the home.
Air filtration is important and MERV 13 air filters should be looked at and installed.
Germicidal Ultraviolet Light
Germicidal UV light are known to kill germs. They’re available residentially to shine on the evaporator coil where things get wet, dark, and grow.
This UV light on there constantly will ensure that at least your mechanical system won’t be the source of any issues.
To take the extra step and actively purify your air, I would strongly suggest for people to research air purifiers.
You’re going to want to look for one that works proactively treats the entire space, not just the air, but surfaces. Proactively using the air distribution system to treat the air and surfaces is ideal.
You know about surface contamination and how everything we touch within a space you know, when can we are able to with these air purifying devices, treat those surfaces.
Whole Room Vs Single Room Air Purifiers
Let’s touch on that one for just a second here because this is the part that irritates me.
So many people will go out and spend $800 on one of the most expensive high-end air purification products that sit in a room to purify the air.
Think about this for just a second.
First of all, you’ve only treated the one room, you have not treated the whole house.
Second of all, you’re only treating the air that’s going through this little machine, you’re not treating any of the surfaces in the house proactively with anything that’s going to help just the air going through the machine in that room only.
Lastly, you’re spending hundreds and thousands of dollars to do this for each room.
For not much more money than that, you can actually treat every room in the house and not just treat it by virtue of the air that’s going through it but actually sending out proactive ions that are going to literally go after the surfaces in your home as well.
I just can’t get more excited than that.
You’re better off and wiser to spend your money on a whole-home solution.
Humidity is a big deal.
More studies have been done recently on humidity and COVID 19. From a pathogen standpoint and our own body’s ability to fight those pathogens, there’s an ideal humidity level.
In northern climates when you turn on your heating system in the winter, we reduce the humidity level so we need to have humidifiers to bring it back up.
Conversely, in the southern climates, usually in the cooling seasons, we need to keep humidity levels down.
Not all heating and air conditioning systems are designed to treat humidity to the extent of what’s needed.
In most cases, you need an extra dehumidifier in the space to help you with those high humidity days.
Humidity is not just about comfort anymore – it’s about your health.
When humidity gets outside of the 40 to 60% ideal relative humidity, pathogens thrive. They hang on. They hang around in the air longer.
Dr. Stephanie Taylor, one of the leading experts in this field showed that if the space you live in is outside of that range, the pathogens can thrive, they last longer in the air, they live longer, and your body’s ability to fight those pathogens decreases.
Humidification is part of that multi-pronged approach or strategy.
IAQ for Business
Whether you’re a homeowner, building owner, business owner, office manager, and you’re looking to get people back into your spaces – the first and foremost priority would be occupant safety.
Mechanical systems need to be looked at, they need to be insured.
The strategies of fresh air all the same rules apply to commercial spaces.
I think this is so easy to talk about because if you’re an office manager, facilities managers, or a small business owner of a gym – Your employees matter to you, your customers matter to you.
It’s going to end up coming down to trust. Do they trust that they can come to your business and stay healthy?
Are your employees comfortable that you’ve taken the necessary steps to build a safe environment for them to work in every day?
Are your customers happy with the things that you’ve done?
To create a safe environment for them to come to spend money on whatever it is they’re supposed to come to spend money on.
This is a huge responsibility for these office managers and business owners. They must make sure they take the appropriate action, and then make sure they make their customers and employees aware of those actions, so they can be proud of the things they’ve done to create a healthy environment.
If it’s a pandemic or a bug that’s going around, you want to have the healthiest air for your commercial space.
You’re talking about the improving comfort and productivity of your occupants.
Occupant safety and health are first and foremost.
But guess what? People are going to come into your building your space, your office, and actually be more productive knowing that they have that peace of mind of clean air.
It’s fresh air, it’s filtration, purification, etc. And so there’s no one size fits all for these solutions.
It depends on their building, depends on the problems with your current system, it depends on the number of people occupying the facility.
This is why the HVAC contractor is such a key component in figuring out your specific needs to your problem and finding the correct solution.
The New Normal
There’s recommendations on getting kids back into school and occupants back in the buildings.
The one thing I came away with after reading this is how contractors went from a maintenance standpoint.
Things we used to do quarterly or bi-annually are now tasks they’ll be doing monthly.
HVAC Contractors Safety Measures
If you’re an installing contractor and changing out filters, you better look out for your own health too.
You got to use personal protective equipment.
Recommendations I saw for air filters when you get to touch one of those air filters, you should wear gloves and your mask on.
In fact, I saw one recommendation to spray a 10% solution of bleach on the filter before you handle it.
New Indoor Air Quality Jobs
So many jobs have been lost as a result of this pandemic.
Think about all the jobs that might be created, because there’s going to be this shift in indoor air quality.
If indoor air quality becomes a conversation that everyone is having every day, then it’s going to create all kinds of new jobs in the world of indoor air quality, even if it’s just from a monthly maintenance point of view.
I think it’s going to be a big part of this economic recovery that I hope we all can look forward to. There is a demand in the field as it was, even before the pandemic. There’s a huge demand for tradesmen, especially HVAC trade.
But now, even after this pandemic comes and goes and goes away, fortunately, hopefully soon, this conversation probably is not going to change.
I know there’s always going to be this elevated conversation about the quality of the air that we breathe.
Home Services Should Expand to IAQ Services
You’re always looking to hire people but now is even more important than ever.
If you’re not in the indoor air quality game, we can help you there by training and get you up to speed on the subject and products.
There are resources we can help you with. You’re not and will never be late to the game.
If you’re not offering solutions, you’re missing the boat.
If you’re an HVAC contractor right now, you’re very fortunate that you’re considered an essential business.
Most of the HVAC businesses I’ve talked to are hanging in there.
At least we’re not in the restaurant business, where so many people have lost their jobs and businesses closed forever.
This is an opportunity to shift your HVAC company’s personality. If your HVAC contracting business personality has always been energy savings and comfort, that’s terrific.
But now is the time to shift the personality of your company to be a little bit more focused, if not entirely focused, in some cases, on indoor air quality.
It’s so relevant, so noble, and it’s helpful. It’s not just comfort and energy.
Now you’re talking about your customer’s health and your ability to offer them real, genuine solutions.
You can help them with their health and well-being.
It’s an opportunity as a contractor to talk to their clients about all the data and solutions.
We’re Ready to Support You
We’re ready to support every contractor in the country to make that shift. That’s what we’re here for.
If you would like some resources going forward I would suggest go IAQ.WORKS.
For more information on ASHRAE.org, they have their own special COVID-19 page with downloadable resources.
EPA.gov has many studies and resources on IAQ as well.
KGGconsulting.com we can get headed down the right path. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]