COVID-19 currently affects communities all over the world, forcing families to stay at home, businesses to shutter temporarily, and individuals to be wary when facing the public realm. We understand the uncertainty that is hanging in the air, and that for many of us that anxiety only gets worse with every news article, official announcement, or special news segment.
For many of us, home renovations and repairs are the last thing on our minds, but do they have to be?
Local Resources to Follow
It is important to stay up to date when following the virus’s latest developments and its global spread. However, with rapidly changing information and rumours spreading across social media, we must look to reputable sources for updates to avoid misinformation.
In the St. Catharine’s and Niagara region, there are a few local sources for COVID-19 updates and information that we can look to for guidance:
- Ontario’s government website is a reliable resource for provincial matters, including COVID-19 updates and legislation surrounding the virus. You can also take a self-assessment on this site to determine if you should seek medical attention.
- Public Health Ontario also has a page dedicated to COVID-19 and prevention tips. You can source this website if you are experiencing symptoms or need advice.
- The Government of Canada website also has helpful, reliable information that you can view for updates on COVID-19. You can also find a self-assessment tool here to help you discern if you may need a test for the virus.
- For a larger scale source of information on the global effects of the virus, the World Health Organization can answer any questions you may have on the spread of COVID-19 outside Canada.
With incorrect information, rumours, and falsified reports floating around the internet, it is imperative only to take information from reputable sources.
Is it Safe to Let Technicians & Repair People into My Home?
As of April 4th, 2020, heating and cooling services are considered essential services in the province of Ontario. The Ontario government has stated all maintenance, repair, and property management services that maintain the safety and operation of properties are considered necessary.
Therefore, if you need HVAC services to keep your home safe and comfortable, it is safe to call us for help or advice. We are happy to visit you and will take the steps necessary to protect you and your home.
What We’re Doing to Keep You Safe
The dedicated team at Mr. Furnace is still operating 24/7, 7 days a week, to ensure your furnace, A/C unit, water heater, and any other air quality or temperature regulating system is running correctly. However, we are strictly abiding by government regulations and suggestions on physical distancing and proper hygiene.
We will continue to wear clean uniforms and shoe covers when entering your home, can wear a mask upon request, and are washing our hands thoroughly and frequently. Any staff that have reported symptoms have been asked to stay home from work.
Can Air Purifiers or Air Filters Keep Me Safe From COVID-19?
UV air purifiers can be incredibly useful in eliminating microscopic air pollutants such as viruses, bacteria, and mold. Additionally, UV systems coupled with air filtration and humidity control can reduce infection from known viruses.
Although there hasn’t been enough research to prove that air purifiers can protect you from COVID-19, they can protect you from other illnesses that can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to other viruses.
COVID-19 is too new for science to have had time to gather enough factual evidence to determine whether or not home air filters can slow or prevent transmission of the virus. However, filtration in heating, cooling, and air conditioning systems can play a role in risk mitigation because they are able to catch and remove select sizes of particles and droplets from the air in your home, which are similar enough to COVID-19 particles that it isn’t unreasonable to believe they could be trapped as well.
What Type of Filter Should I Be Using?
Unfortunately, there is no standard answer to this question, although we do know some facts that can help to protect against COVID-19 and other viruses.
Low-efficiency filters (less than MERV 8, according to ASHRAE Standard 52.2) are unlikely to make a difference. Higher efficiency filters, when properly installed, can remove particles of certain sizes, but there are no specific recommendations available for COVID-19. High-efficiency filters can accumulate dust and particles, requiring frequent filter changes and maintenance to keep the air clean.
Hospital-grade filters are specially designed to support large-scale systems when coupled with other control strategies such as UV lamps, humidity control, and airflow management. Additionally, these filters often have designated maintenance teams that are consistently monitoring the system to ensure it is functioning at peak efficiency.
How to Keep Your Home Clean & Safe
Frequent Hand Washing
In the current climate, it is crucial to adopt proper hygiene practices to avoid transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses. The Government of Canada, among other large governing bodies, has stated that hand washing has been proven to slow the spread of the virus.
Proper hand washing is especially important after using the washroom and before and after preparing food. If you need to leave the house for essentials, bring an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands. Additionally, avoid touching your face whenever possible.
Physical distancing, also called physical distancing, should be practiced at all times for the foreseeable future. This means staying at least 2 metres away from another person and limiting face-to-face contact with older adults and immunocompromised individuals.
When leaving the house for essentials, keep a safe distance away from others and avoid crowded places or peak shopping times when possible.
Being prepared is important to protect you and your family from COVID-19. Taking preventative measures, such as frequent hand washing and disinfecting high-traffic areas in your home, can help to slow transmission of the virus.
Additionally, having a room that can be used as a quarantine room for any family members that get sick can be helpful, as they can easily stay away from others. Keep an eye out for symptoms, and do your best to source information from reputable sources.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Stay aware of what symptoms of COVID-19 are so you know when you may need testing. The Government of Canada’s website offers a free online self-assessment for more information if you are worried. The most common symptoms of the virus are cough, fever, shortness of breath, and pneumonia in both lungs.
When Will Symptoms Occur?
Individuals that have contracted COVID-19 have experienced symptoms within 14 days of exposure to the virus. This is the longest known incubation period, so it is crucial to self-isolate for 14 days if you have come into contact with the virus.
Overall, it is vital to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. If you can, stay at home. Take care of your mental and physical health and practice physical distancing when necessary. And if you need any assistance with your home comfort needs, Mr. Furnace is always here to help across the St. Catharines and Niagara region.