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A young woman sick in bed during flu season.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality as Flu Season Approaches

While fall welcomes the start of school, the beginnings of the holiday season, and beautiful foliage, it also marks the start of cold and flu season – a time when your indoor air quality should be top of mind.

October 26, 2022

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is important all year around — after all, according to the EPA, Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors — but it’s particularly critical during flu season. The flu is an airborne virus that can spread rapidly indoors. By taking steps to improve the quality of air in your home, you can help fight the virus and lessen your chances of getting sick. Learn how you can improve indoor air quality with Trane products, as well as other IAQ tips and tricks, so you can help yourself and your loved ones during cold and flu season.

Why Indoor Air Quality Matters

Indoor air quality plays an important role in your overall health and wellbeing. If you face poor indoor air quality on a consistent basis, overtime you might experience a wide variety of health issues, such as respiratory problems, headaches, allergy symptoms, and more — and that’s just from the particulates in the air on a typical day. Flu season adds another contagious virus into the mix that can impact your health.

By working to improve your indoor air quality, you’re working to minimize viruses like the flu from the air you breathe, resulting in cleaner and healthier air that can make a difference in your life. Indoor air quality is especially important for members of vulnerable populations, such as children, elderly people, people with allergies and asthma, and people with pre-existing health conditions, as poor indoor air quality can have an even bigger impact on those with already compromised immune systems. Starting the process of minimizing indoor air pollution only takes a few small steps, but can result in substantial changes for your health and home.

Indoor Air Quality Products That Help Fight the Flu

You don’t want cold and flu virus particles in your home or in your body, so it’s a good idea to prepare your home with indoor air quality purification tactics. Trane’s indoor air quality products can help you combat the flu and other viruses in your home, so you can lessen your chances of catching an airborne virus. These systems can be easily installed, plus they work quickly and efficiently once they’re in your home, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and take in the fresh air.

Trane CleanEffects® Whole Home Air Cleaner

The Trane CleanEffects® Whole Home Air Cleaner is a whole home solution for cleaner, healthier air. This air cleaner is proven to remove Influenza A and 99.98% of airborne pollutants as small as 0.3 microns, such as mold spores, bacteria, allergens, pollen and more. That makes the Trane CleanEffects® Whole Home Air Cleaner eight times more effective than HEPA filters and up to 100 times more effective than traditional one inch air filters. To effectively clean the air, the CleanEffects® Air Cleaner utilizes a pre-filter to trap larger particles. For the harder to catch, fine particulates, CleanEffects® uses patented field charger and collection cell technology. This technology applies an electric charge to the smallest particles in the air, allowing the CleanEffects® to work like a magnet and remove them from the air stream.

Not only can this technology reduce flu virus particles from the air in your home during flu season, but homeowners can use it to enjoy cleaner air year-round. The Trane CleanEffects® Whole Home Air Cleaner has earned an asthma and allergy friendly® certification from the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, which means it has met rigorous testing requirements that indicate it provides improved indoor air quality.

Not to mention, this air cleaning system can be installed with many existing HVAC systems, meaning it can easily help purify the air while other components of the system work to heat or cool your home. Plus, the CleanEffects® reusable filter can be easily cleaned — no pesky filter replacements required. All this to say, adding a state-of-the-art CleanEffects® air cleaner to your HVAC system can help you breathe easier.

QuikBox™ Media Cabinet

The QuikBox™ Media Cabinet is a great option for homeowners in search of a budget-friendly way to improve their indoor air quality. This cabinet can be added to your HVAC system to provide a more robust filtering system. The QuikBox™ Media Cabinet utilizes a synthetic fiber 4.5" media filter that is up to 25 times more effective than a disposable 1" filter.

The QuikBox™ Media Cabinet is an easy addition to your home that upgrades your HVAC system and keeps the air you breathe cleaner. It helps minimize dust, dirt, dander, pet hair, and of course, the flu virus, from your indoor air.

Energy Recovery Ventilator

While filters and air cleaners are both great ways to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ), better ventilation also can help by bringing fresh, filtered air into your home. According to the EPA, concentrations of some air pollutants are often between two and five times higher inside than outside. Today’s tightly constructed homes, while more energy efficient, don’t allow for the exchange of air that occurred in homes of the past. Ventilators like the Energy Recovery Ventilator help by increasing the amount of outdoor air coming into your home.

The Energy Recovery Ventilator removes stale indoor air from your home and brings in fresh, pre-cooled or pre-heated outdoor air in its place. This process helps reduce odors, vapors, flu viruses and other particles from the air in your home, improving your indoor air quality index.

Homeowners using the Energy Recovery Ventilator will get some additional benefits in addition to improved indoor air quality, as this ventilator also improves your HVAC system efficiency by retaining heat and moisture from the exhaust air during the winter months. The system comes in three sizes, designed to fit all homes up to 4,500 square feet, and is easy to install in a garage, basement, or attic.

Trane Fan-Powered Humidifier

Trane’s Fan-Powered Humidifier is our seasonal selection for transitioning from summer to winter in your home — and it’s particularly useful in those dry regions of the county. Trane’s Fan-Powered Humidifier works to improve humidity levels by regulating the amount of moisture in the home, with the capacity to output up to 18 gallons per day.

Optimal indoor humidity levels should be between 40% and 50%, but in the winter indoor humidity levels can drop to anywhere from 20% to 30%, which may lead to health issues or increase the spread of viruses. Not to mention, those living in a home with low humidity levels can experience frequent nosebleeds, sore throats, and dry skin, and might even notice increased warping and cracking on home furnishings.

Humidifiers can help lessen these issues, while simultaneously helping to lower the risk of flu virus particles spreading in your home. Virus droplets like the flu instantly shrink when exposed to dry air, which causes them to remain suspended in the air for a long time. When virus particles stay in the air, it can lead to an increased risk of infection. But, with proper humidity levels, virus droplets that reach the air won’t shrink in size and will therefore fall to the ground quicker. That means, using a humidifier to maintain optimal levels can help lower the risk of exposure to the flu and other airborne viruses.

Tips and Tricks to Improve Indoor Air Quality

In addition to investing in an indoor air quality system that will help improve the air you breathe, there are other measures homeowners can take, too. These tips and tricks are easy to do and relatively inexpensive to implement in your home today. Here are a few additional ways to improve your indoor air quality:

  • Regularly replace the air filters in all your HVAC systems every 30-90 days.
  • Regularly clean air vents and ducts throughout your home with a cloth and warm water to get rid of dust and dander hiding within them.
  • Use cooking vents while in the kitchen to help mitigate lingering odors and vapors.
  • Monitor indoor temperature and humidity levels with a smart thermostat such as the Trane ComfortLink® II XL1050 Thermostat.
  • Buy indoor plants that can help naturally clean the air for your home.
  • Test your indoor air quality on a regular basis to ensure your improvement efforts are working and that no issues arise.

Bottom Line: Improve Indoor Air Quality for Better Peace of Mind

Trane’s indoor air quality products are designed and tested to help you lessen the spread of the flu and other indoor air pollutants year-round. From air cleaners, to ventilators, to humidifiers, there are a variety of ways to improve the quality of the air you breathe.

If you aren’t sure where to start, or don’t quite know which air purification system might be best for you and your home, a Trane Comfort Specialist can help. Your local independent Trane dealer can help you find an indoor air quality solution catered to your specific needs, and once you decide, your dealer will install your system and put you on the path to cleaner indoor air. Talk to your local HVAC dealer today about how you can start improving your home’s indoor air quality.

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