Having a new baby is an exciting time in one's life. Many new parents spend a lot of time creating a nursery and baby-proofing the house: baby gates on stairs, safety locks on the cabinets, and electric plugs for the outlets. But many don't think of their HVAC system as part of the baby preparation process.
Your HVAC system can significantly impact your child's comfort level. So whether you're a new parent or one with more experience, here are some HVAC-related changes to consider for your child.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
According to the EPA, the concentrations of some pollutants, including pathogens, odors, and respiratory droplets that spread viruses, are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Babies are particularly venerable to indoor pollution for several reasons: they breathe more frequently, their bodies and their immune system are less equipped to handle pollution, and they are lower at floor level, where more contaminants can be found. There are a few ways to improve indoor air quality, including:
- Change your filters. You should be changing your filters every three months for maximum efficiency. Upgrade your filter to one with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) of 13 or higher that can help trap smaller particles and remove viruses from the air.
- Control the humidity. Use humidifiers (in winter) and dehumidifiers (in summer) to control indoor humidity. Excess humidity can lead to the growth of mold or mildew, as well as respiratory issues. Low humidity can cause dry, itchy skin and eyes, allergy and asthma flare-ups, and itchy throat.
- Install a UV air purifier, which works to eliminate harmful air particles in your home, rather than just contain them. Learn more.
Baby Proof HVAC Components
Baby fingers can easily get stuck or cut on HVAC components, such as vents. Baby proof as much of the HVAC components as possible before the baby becomes mobile. Put away any HVAC remotes, add screening to your ducts, cover your vents, and screw and secure vent register to the floor.
Don't forget about your outdoor units! Young children love to stick their fingers and hands in HVAC components. So make the area of your yard with outdoor HVAC units off-limits. Add fencing, bushes, and shrubs around the unit to close it off.