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Create a healthier home: 4 tips for your new multi-purpose space

Photo: Avelino Calvar Martinez/Burst
(Family Features) -- Even after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination, There are a lot of people not ready to throw caution into the wind and resume pre-pandemic behavior. Individuals and families, vaccinated or not, are planning to continue to spend more time at home until they feel their communities and the places they frequent are much safer to visit.

The additional time at home provides a unique opportunity to make changes to create a healthy living environment.

In many homes spaces traditionally used for socialization and relaxation have evolved into classrooms, gyms and workout space, voice and video production studios, comfortable office space, restaurants, and more.

In fact, a majority of Americans (54%) report being more concerned about having a healthy home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent online survey of 2,000 adults conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Carrier Global Corporation, a leading global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions.

The survey also found that of those surveyed who were 18 years of age or older last August, since the COVID-19 pandemic began:

  • 49% are more concerned about maintaining heating and air conditioning filters to reduce dust, pollen and other indoor pollutants.
  • 42% are more concerned about fire safety precautions in their homes, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • 39% are more concerned about having dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in their homes.

According to the survey, 1,381 of the participants were homeowners.

If you’re looking to improve your living space, consider these tips for making your home the healthiest it can be:

Create an ideal sleep environment . . .
Most people sleep most comfortably when the air is slightly cool, so target a room temperature between 65-70 F. If this is cooler than you keep the home during the day, consider using a programmable thermostat that automatically lowers the temperature at bedtime. Also, remove distractions that may keep you awake and, if necessary, use a white noise device for uninterrupted sleep.

Improve indoor air quality . . .
Maintaining heating and air conditioning filters is a concern many homeowners reported. According to the survey, 49% of respondents are concerned about reducing dust, pollen and other indoor pollutants as part of their filter maintenance.

In addition to changing air filters on a frequent basis, air purifiers and humidifiers can help make the air inside homes fresher, cleaner and more comfortable. For example, third-party testing has shown the Carrier Infinity Whole Home Air Purifier inactivates 99% of the select viruses and bacteria trapped on the filter, such as those that cause common colds, streptococcus pyogenes and human influenza. The purifier was also tested by a third party against the murine coronavirus, which is similar to the human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. In that testing, the purifier inactivated 99% of coronavirus trapped on the filter.

Also look at your home's air exchange rate, also known as Air Change Per Hour (ACPH). ACPH or ACH is a measurement that looks at how many times the air within a defined space is replaced each hour with fresh, ideally outdoor air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends homes and offices have a certain number of air changes per hour. For example, bedrooms should have five to six, kitchens seven to eight, and laundry rooms around eight to nine exchanges per hour.

If your home is older and not as tightly-built or weatherized, air exchange can occur through leaks in the exterior envelope, which may not be enough to keep mildew and mold growth under control. With newer, well-sealed constructed home, homeowners may want to consider upgrading your home's ventilation system to remove stale air and pull in more fresher air from outdoors.

Update fire protection . . .
Since the pandemic began, people are also more concerned about fire safety precautions in their homes, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Smoke alarms should be installed on each level of your house and inside each bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries as needed. Additionally, you should have a fire extinguisher on each level and consider one for the kitchen, as well. Make sure to check extinguishers routinely and replace them every 10-12 years.

Install carbon monoxide alarms . . .
Another cause for concern amid COVID-19 is the potential for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in homes. CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas, and it’s important to test them monthly. Consider installing alarms with a 10-year battery, such as the Kidde Wire-Free Interconnect 10-Year Battery Combination Smoke & CO Alarm for less hassle. It offers wire-free interconnect capability, a voice warning feature that accompanies the loud alarm tone and verbal announcements such as “replace alarm” at the end of the alarm’s life.

To learn more about creating a safer, healthier home, visit carrier.com/healthyhomes.

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