If you are about to undergo chemotherapy, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to improve the quality of the air flowing through your central heating system to reduce your risk of infection. If so, use the tips below to prepare and maintain your furnace while your immune system is depressed from treatments.
Replace Your Furnace's Filter With A HEPA Filter
If you are using a low-grade, standard paper filter for your furnace, you may want to consider replacing it with a HEPA filter. These filters not only remove more dust from the air as it passes through your furnace, but it also filters out pathogens, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, that could make you extremely ill while your immune system is unable to fight them off.
After the initial replacement, replace the filter every month to ensure that it does not become clogged or infested with pathogens. If this happens, the filter is no longer able to do its job, and the particles already trapped inside could be released into the air.
When changing the filter, have someone else do it for you to avoid breathing in any dust as it is moved. If this is not possible, and you must do it yourself, wear a high-efficiency mask and gloves while handling the filter. Then, thoroughly wash your hands and face to remove any microbes that could have settled on your skin.
Clean Your Vents And Registers Weekly
Every week, thoroughly clean your vents and registers using bleach water. If any microbes have settled in the vents, this kills them so the air does not blow them into the room. As stated above, you should ideally have someone else do it for you, but if not, take precautions.
When wiping out the vents, a lint-free cloth such as a diaper or mechanic's cloth should be used to keep from snagging the metal or screws. Apply a liberal amount of one part bleach to two parts water. For the registers, fill your sink or tub with bleach water, and soak them for about a half an hour to an hour. Let the vents and registered air dry before turning the furnace back on to avoid irritating your lungs.
Using the tips above can help minimize your risk of infection during chemotherapy by reducing the amount of dirt and bacteria coming from your furnace. However, if you are concerned about your old furnace's ability to run efficiently, you may want to contact an HVAC contractor, such as Brian's Heat and Air, and have them look at your unit and possibility install a newer, cleaner one.