Argent Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is committed to the safety and well-being of our community. This enduring value guides us as we face the difficult challenge of responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Rest assured, we are making every attempt to continue business as usual, while also maintaining our company’s commitment to protect the health and safety of our customers and our employees and their families. With that, you can call ARGENT with confidence in knowing that:
- Restricting Human Contact: We are keeping human contact to a minimum, employing virtual meetings and work-from-home capabilities where possible. Any employee who is ill or caring for a sick family member is required to stay home.
- Following CDC Guidelines: We are closely following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. We are continually sanitizing our offices, shops, equipment, vehicles and tools.
When working with ARGENT, here are some things you can expect:
- Please don’t be alarmed or offended if we ask you if anyone in your home or business is ill or has visited high-risk virus areas; we simply need to protect our workers and their families. In fact, we ask that you let us know this in advance.
- Please understand that we have adopted a “no handshake policy.”
- Please let us know in advance if there are any specific instructions or policies that you’ve personally put in place for COVID-19 so that we can cooperate with your needs.
- Please be patient. We are making every attempt to meet our customers’ needs; however, you may experience slight delays in service calls in the event we need to operate with reduced numbers in staff/techs.
- Prepare for possible material delays.
Argent Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has always prided itself at being responsive to the needs of our customers and employees, and – now more than ever – we’re reinforcing that commitment.
How to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Your Home
Your HVAC system is your home’s best line of defense
Already this week, the Union Daily Voice reported that New Jersey had suffered its first coronavirus death, the 27th such fatality in the United States. The victim was a 69-year-old diabetic man from Bergen County. He had not traveled out of the country recently, but had made several trips to New York, the state with the most recorded COVID-19 cases. As of that Tuesday, New Jersey had 15 presumptive positive coronavirus cases, according to the state Health Department. As this article went to press, the website worldometers.info posted a coronavirus update for March 11 with these numbers: 118,909 cases globally, resulting in 4,270 deaths with 65,175 patients recovered and 49,464 cases active. Of the currently infected patients, 88 percent were in mild condition while 12 percent were in serious or critical condition.Although the numbers are concerning, there is still no reason to panic. There are, however, prudent measures that every person and every household should take. We at Argent offer this page of information to help calm fears and empower you to take control of your household environment and make it healthier for your family.
Personal protocols to stop the spread of COVID-19
First, let’s recall that the Centers for Disease Control recommends the same practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as it offers every flu season:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, keep a safe distance from others.
- If you are sick, stay home.
- When sneezing or coughing cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Then dispose of the tissue safely and wash your hands and face.
- Keep your hands clean. Wash them with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your face. Touching transfers germs from your hands to your nose, mouth and eyes.
- Keep surfaces clean at home, school and work.
- Practice good health maintenance. Get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, manage your stress, drink adequate fluids and eat nutritious food.
Recall that COVID-19, like the flu, takes an inordinate toll on the elderly and people with compromised health. If you or a loved one falls into this category, be extra vigilant.
Lessons from SARS and MERS
We should also realize that COVID-19 is not the first coronavirus to cause trouble this millennium. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2002 – 2004 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) epidemic of 2012 were both caused by forms of coronavirus. The lessons learned from those epidemics can help us manage the spread of COVID-19, even when it comes to our home environment, as we explain below.
How your HVAC system can help rid your home of viruses
A modern, well-maintained HVAC system contributes greatly to a healthy in-home environment in three important ways:
- Stopping the growth of viruses
- Filtering viruses from the air
- Expelling stale, contaminated air from the premises
We’ll discuss each of these in turn to show how your HVAC system can be a strong line of defense against COVID-19.
Home humidifiers prevent the growth of viruses like COVID-19
According to a recent article on facilityexecutive.com, SARS and MERS coronaviruses have shown a distinct pattern of behavior on inanimate surfaces and in the air: “Very low temperatures (tested at 6°C) and very low humidity (30%) enable viruses to survive for long periods on surfaces and in the air.” This is why these viruses tend to spread during the winter months then dissipate come spring. Scientists reason that COVID-19 will behave in a similar manner. By altering indoor conditions, we can reduce the rate of transmission from human to human. Unfortunately, “conditions in homes and on public transport” are generally set to 20 to 24 degrees Celsius and 20 to 40 percent humidity for comfort, which creates “the ideal environmental conditions for SARS coronaviruses to survive on surfaces and in the air over a long period of time.” While it would be costly and unpleasant to raise your home temperature to combat virus, “Air humidification acts in a proactive way to combat the spread of viruses ….” Humidification also helps a person’s “respiratory tract’s defenses…due to the more efficient cleaning of the airways and enhanced immune defenses.” FMH General Physician Walter Hugentobler recommends humidification as a low-cost method of reducing the risk of virus spread. A study cited on MebMD.com agrees that higher humidity can reduce virus transmission. A research team found that “raising indoor relative humidity levels to 43 percent or above… quickly render[ed] 86 percent of airborne virus particles powerless.” So, set your home humidity a little higher, say 45 percent, and you’ll breath much easier, in more ways than one.
Air filters can trap coronavirus particles
A home air purifier has a filter, typically a HEPA, which stands for “high-efficiency particulate air,” or “high-efficiency particulate arrestance.” A HEPA certified filter is capable of removing very tiny particles from the air. In fact, according to NASA, HEPA filters capture “virtually 100 percent of particulates.” Even though COVID-19 viruses are small enough to be classified as “nanoparticles,” experiments have shown that a well-maintained HEPA filter can capture 99 percent of coronavirus particles in a single pass.
Air expellers provide healthier ventilated air
According to the World Health Organization, “Poorly ventilated buildings affect air quality and can contribute to the spread of disease.” WHO studied health facilities where there was a high concentration of patients with infectious diseases and found that “poorly ventilated buildings have higher risks of infectious disease transmission for patients, workers, and visitors.” Conversely, buildings where there was a high ventilation rate with a greater number of air exchanges per hour reduced the risk of infection. Opening a window is not always an option, but a quality air exchanger can produce even greater benefit.
Best practices for your in-home environment
Naturally, to get optimal protection from your HVAC system, you have to install quality equipment and maintain it. The easiest and most cost-effective improvement you make to your existing system is to change your air filter on schedule. If you have a fiberglass filter, you should change it every month and make sure you dispose of it properly. With a pleated air filter, you can usually go three to six months. If you have questions, there should be instructions on the filter, or you can speak to an HVAC specialist. If it’s time to upgrade or replace your system, Argent is ready to help. We feature many lines of quality HVAC products, which we are certified by the manufacturer to install. When it comes to the quality of indoor air, one manufacturer we are very high on is AprilAire, which offers a number of effective products, including:
- Aprilaire Electronic Air Purifier — As an example, the Model 5000 combines electrostatic technology with a traditional air ﬁlter to remove up to 98 percent of airborne particles as small as 0.1 micron, which is the size of a coronavirus particle. Installing the Model 5000 in your central heating and cooling system will prevent dust build up in your house, save energy by keeping your HVAC equipment clean, and freshen the air by removing contaminants such as pet dander and tobacco particles. This unit is a must for anyone who suffers from asthma or hay fever.
- Ultraviolet germicidal lamp — To enhance air purification in your duct system, this lamp uses UV-C light to inactivate and kill bacteria, molds, protozoa, viruses and yeasts. This low maintenance device is designed to work continuously 24 hours a day for a full year before you have to replace the germicidal bulb.
- Whole house humidifier — As stated above, raising the relative humidity in your home can lower your chance of spreading viruses. The Aprilaire 800 Whole House Steam Humidifier uses electrode technology to heat water to create clean vapor. There’s no cleaning or scrubbing with this low maintenance unit. You simply replace the canister at the end of the humidifier season. The Model 800 can provide full coverage for up to 6,200 sq. ft. in tightly sealed home.
Another company we can heartily recommend RGF Environmental Group. This company has a line of innovative solutions to purify home air, such as:
- The Reme HALO-LED™ Whole Home In-Duct Air Purifier — If your HVAC system utilizes air ducts, you should consider “the industry’s first LED in-duct, whole home air purification system that is both mercury free and zero ozone compliant.” Living in your ducts, the HALO-LED™ turns on and off with your blower, for efficient energy usage. The unit produces ionized hydrogen peroxide molecules that are distributed into the air, breaking down and destroying contaminants, restoring the air to its clean, natural state. The ionization causes dust, dander and other particulants to stick together, so your air filtration system can more easily remove them. The ultra-long-life technology assures this unit will serve your home for years to come and is backed by a seven-year limited warranty.
Contact Argent for a wide range of home purification solutions
Nothing is more important than the health of your family. For help selecting the right air purification products for your home, along with expert installation, maintenance and repair, call Argent today at 908-286-1920. Our main office hours are 7AM to 5PM, Monday-Friday, but we are available for emergencies 24/7 at 800-807-2103. We serve clients in and around Morris, Essex, Union, and Somerset Counties, New Jersey.