The reasoning behind the shutdown of most social gatherings and state "stay at home" orders was to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 type of coronavirus. However, for both people living in single-family houses and especially condominium or apartment complexes, spending more time at home may increase the risk of contracting a respiratory illness, if not COVID-19.
According to one expert on UVGI, "For families the home may be the source of most of the respiratory infections that they will contract in their lives, especially if they have children."
Air sanitization of a house or apartment is often done with the use of a low-efficiency dust filter in the furnace. Frequent cleaning of surfaces to remove dust, dirt, or food particulates should be done by the people living in the space, but continuous air purification is rare for any residential space.
The Dangerous Microorganisms Lurking in Your Home
The dangerous microorganisms in a home can pose a serious risk to people and pets. The below is a partial list of common bacteria and fungi found in homes. Influenza viruses may also make an appearance during flu season, as well as other allergens during relevant seasons.
Thankfully, all of these are susceptible to UVC germicidal disinfection. The question is, how best to implement a system for cleaning the air and surfaces in a home.
Where Bacteria, Mold, Fungi, and Viruses Live
While harmful microorganisms can grow almost anywhere, certain areas are more likely to be breeding grounds. Obviously, any spaces that are damp or water-damaged can quickly lead to mold growth.
However, the microflora in indoor spaces will carry human-borne bacteria, seasonal viruses and allergens, environmental bacteria, and fungal spores. These can be brought in by family members or be carried in through outside air. Most bacteria come from human sources, and fungi can be found on typical home furnishings or on buildings materials.
Central air cooling coils can be particularly susceptible to mold spore build-up. If that happens, the house or apartment building HVAC may be spreading mold spores throughout the building continuously, and there is little the occupants can do, other than entirely clean out the system and install an ultraviolet solution to prevent future recurrence.
The following is a partial list of surfaces and objects where harmful microorganisms have been found in homes.
- Bathroom Mats
- Latex Mattresses
- Base Boards
- Mineral Wood
- Moisture-Damaged Concrete
Ultraviolet UVC Germicidal Solutions for the Home
With the coronavirus response confining people to their homes, homeowners have begun discovering UVC light to disinfect shoes, clothes, work gear, mail, groceries, and other surfaces. From handheld units for spot surface disinfection to building their own decontamination boxes with UVC surface mounted strips, people's creativity has been inspiring.
Unfortunately, fewer homeowners have taken into account the problems caused by microflora in the air they, their children, and their pets breathe in on a minute-to-minute basis. This is why central HVAC UV systems should be considered for any house or condo/apartment complex.
Apartments present another challenge as occupants may not have access to the central heating and cooling ducts, or may lack the permission to install ultraviolet lamp systems. In these cases, depending on the size of the room, a residential or small commercial UVC air mover unit may be the solution. This is also an option for buildings that do not have a central HVAC system. These fixtures use a filter, blower, and UVC light bulbs to circulate the air in a room and provide disinfection.
The Bottom Line
While the global crisis over COVID-19 may come to an end soon, coronavirus, the flu, bacteria, mold, fungi, and other viruses aren't going away any time soon. One of the few positives from this crisis, though, may be the increased awareness of ultraviolet lighting for air and surface cleaning.
A variety of UVC lights can be used in homes to keep furnishings, personal property, and circulated air cleaner by reducing transmission of pathogens and lowering levels of allergens in the air and on surfaces.