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Cold and Flu Season: How Your HVAC Affects It

Cold and Flu Season: How Your HVAC Affects ItAlthough our Orlando winters are mild, our cold and flu season can be just as worrying as in more northerly regions. The reason for that, of course, is viruses, which are transmitted from person to person, regardless of the weather.

There is, however, some evidence that reveals how relative humidity and temperature in the home can play a part in the transmittal of viruses. Read on and learn the part your HVAC system might play in your fight against infections this cold and flu season.

Temperature

It simply isn’t true that being cold leads to catching flu or a cold. However, cold air does hold less moisture than warmer air, so in a home, a slightly warmer temperature might have an effect on how much moisture is in the air, which will definitely have an effect on the transmittal of viruses. The next paragraph will explain.

Moisture

Viruses are transmitted not only by touch, but when people sneeze or cough, which launches viruses into the air. When conditions are drier, the droplets are likely to reach another host; when conditions are moist, the virus may hover in the moist air, and ultimately drop to the floor.

Raising Humidity

Both your air conditioner and furnace contribute to drier air, so you might need to raise the relative humidity in your home to between 40-50 percent in winter. Granted, that seems unlikely in Florida, but it is possible your HVAC system might be drying your air out too much if your home construction is airtight.

You can raise moisture levels with these home-grown remedies:

  • Add more indoor plants.
  • Take longer showers, leaving the bathroom door open.
  • Boil pots of water on the stove.
  • Use a portable humidifier (you have to refill these, and move them from room to room).

In the rare instance when these remedies seem insufficient, you might look into a whole home humidifier, but generally the humidity in Florida homes is never so low that humidifier installation should be necessary.

To learn more about cold and flu season and your HVAC system, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions of Orlando.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).