We have been bombarded lately with more and more concerns of indoor air quality as quarantine restrictions have tightened and PA residents are spending more time inside of our own homes. While there is nothing any of us can do to be 100% protected from COVID-19, there are multiple ways of reducing the risk to ourselves, our family, and the community. As home inspectors, one thing that stands out to us is the air that we are all breathing as we spend days and nights trapped in our homes waiting for the spread of the virus to decrease.
Washing our hands, social distancing, and constantly cleaning our homes are great preventative measures and we ourselves are doing them almost non-stop. However, none of these techniques will impact the virus as it floats around inside our homes in the air we are breathing. This is where our unique perspective as home inspectors has opened our eyes to a gap in our approach to slowing the spread of the disease. We deal with indoor air quality on a regular basis so it's a topic that is consistently being brought to the front of our minds.
With that said, we're hoping to be able to contribute some helpful information to our clients and real estate professionals that visit our web page. A number of products exist that can improve the quality of the air inside our homes. Many are filtration devices that can remove particulates such as allergens, dust, mold, ect. These are great products, however, they don't do anything for viruses or bacteria. Enter the Guardian Air QR+.
The Guardian Air QR+ is not the only device that can help reduce airborne bacteria's and viruses, it is simply the one that I have the most experience with. I've also installed one in my own home and I have always been pleased with how effective it has been for myself and my clients, so it's the one I'm going to talk about. The device works similarly (but not exactly) to a UV Light that is installed in a plumbing system to treat bacteria and E. Coli in water. It's installed into your already existing forced air system and begins to work right away as air passes over it.
What sets this device apart, in my mind anyways, is the PHI-CELL technology. This technology releases hydro-peroxides into the air that float around after leaving the distribution ducting inside your home and continue to kill viruses and bacteria outside of the HVAC system itself. If you have a newer programmable thermostat, you can set the fan to CIRCULATE mode and the fan will continue to circulate air around your home at a very slow rate, and thus continuously spreading the hydro-peroxides.
I originally installed this unit in my home, not because of COVID-19 or a concern of airborne bacteria/viruses, but due to my daughters each wanting their own kitten. After a couple months, I started noticing an odor when I would come home in the evenings. My neighbor, an HVAC wholesaler, told me about this product because one of it's perks is that it also helps reduce or eliminate odors. Think of it as a bottomless bottle of Febreze installed in your HVAC system. I read more about it, researched some of the competitors, and decided to install it. I've been recommending it ever since. It only took two days before I could no longer smell the cat smell when I walked in and I was happy. Now that COVID-19 is knocking on my doorstep, I'm even happier I installed it. The downside, the cartridge needs replaced every 2 yrs. Depending on the size , costs can range from $200-$350 for the replacement. It can be replaced by the homeowner using absolutely no tools. Big plus.
I've attached two PDF's to the page that are directly from the manufacturer's website. They give you details on the Guardian Air as well as the REME-HALO model. The REME-HALO uses the same technology but also incorporates a particulate filter to help out those with allergies.
The goal of this little blurb was to give out some hopefully helpful information to any readers that are concerned about the COVID-19 virus inside their home, or anyone interested in long term improvement of their indoor air quality. These devices are very easy to install for anyone that is semi-handy and if you purchase one and need help installing it, give us a ring and we can try to walk you through any hurdles over the phone. Unfortunately, we cannot help out by traveling to your home due to the travel ban.
DISCLAIMER: (Sorry, we have to) We recommend qualified contractors do any and all work in regards to installing any of these products due to the fact that electrical repairs/upgrades/alterations may be required as well as permanent alterations to the HVAC system.
What you're looking at is a copy of the approval letter stating that InterNachi can offer free continuing education to licensed agents to help them fulfill their CE requirements. Click here to be taken to InterNachi's site where you can complete these courses in the comfort of your own home or offfice.
If home inspections are typically a painful process for you as an agent, please let us know. Many of the deficiencies we find can be resolved before the home is ever put on the market. Part of the staging process should be identifying and fixing the routine maintenance items discovered during a home inspection. Let us know what your most common pitfalls are in regards to home inspections and we can put together a quick class for you, or your entire office, to help you and your clients move the home. We also offer pre-listing inspections. The details can be found here.
Here is a link to a quick article for real estate agents. Limiting liability is a primary concern for anyone involved in real estate. We understand this and all of our inspection agreements contain an agent indemnity clause. Home inspections in Johnstown, State College, and Altoona can be more complex due to the area's distressed status.