With COVID-19 still spreading throughout the U.S. and beyond, many people are paying closer attention to their health and well-being than ever before, from practicing diligent hand hygiene to wearing a mask out in public. However, in many cases, what’s inside your home could be making you sick, as well. In fact, one single item that you’re neglecting to clean regularly could be the culprit behind some serious health issues, coronavirus included: your HVAC filters.
Indoor air filters can harbor many types of harmful bacteria and fungi—pathogens that can be redistributed into your home environment if your filters aren’t cleaned frequently. Plus, an oft-cited COVID study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one air-conditioned restaurant in Guangzhou, China spread COVID to three families via “strong airflow from the air conditioner.”
In another study, which has not yet undergone scientific review, researchers in Oregon collected samples from inside a hospital’s HVAC system and found genetic material from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Their findings demonstrate that it may be possible for the virus to be transmitted through HVAC systems, especially those that are not regularly and thoroughly cleaned.
COVID aside, filthy HVAC filters are a serious health risk. In a 2014 study published in Mycobiology, researchers discovered nine fungal species on the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters studied, noting that many of these fungi were known to prompt allergenic responses. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that indoor air pollution, such as that caused by the redistribution of allergens in a space, can cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and irritation of your nose, eyes, and throat, among other effects.
“When [HVAC systems] are poorly maintained or neglected, allergens get stuck and are stored inside the ducts for a long period of time,” explains Natalie Barrett, service quality supervisor at Nifty Duct Cleaning. “In fact, if you live in a building with other apartments, not cleaning your air ducts can harm your neighbors as well.”
If you want to ensure you’re doing your best to keep yourself (and your neighbors) healthy, make sure you’re not only cleaning, but replacing your filters regularly.
“HVAC and furnace filters need to be changed at least every 90 days,” says Bailey Carson, head of cleaning for Handy. She recommends replacing your filters at the beginning of the winter and then again three months later.
That’s not the only potential contributor to your poor health inside your home, though. Read on to discover what other household items could be making you sick without proper cleaning. And if you want to get your home spotless, check out these Genius Tricks That Will Cut Your Cleaning Time in Half.
Read the original article on Best Life.