With a coordinated response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) underway in Rhode Island and surrounding areas, hygiene lessons from our childhood come in handy. It\u2019s very important that we continue our regular hygiene routines of washing our hands and covering our faces when we cough or sneeze. And, to check in on our central heating and cooling systems to make sure that proper air quality is maintained, too. The air quality in your home is just as important as washing surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. Central heating and cooling systems ventilate the air in our homes to protect our health. So when flu season and viruses hit Rhode Island, it\u2019s important to think about respiratory health and home hygiene. Protect your home from germs & allergens It\u2019s common to worry about the circulation of germs in your home\u2019s vents. During the winter, a central air system will push and pull air throughout your home. So yes, germs and allergens can travel through your vents. But, you are protected by filters and other air quality products. You can use high-efficiency filters that trap particles, as well as bulbs that emit UV light to kill germs. And, one of the best prevention against airborne pollutants is keeping your ducts and filters clean. Over time, trapped dust can grow into something even worse, like mold, and you don\u2019t want that circulating in your home. Air quality products & Coronavirus There are less certainties about the prevention of coronavirus using home air quality products. For example, a HEPA filter is very efficient at trapping small particles, but it\u2019s unclear how effective even the finest filters are at trapping the coronavirus due to its size. UV light and ionization are also effective at killing germs and fighting some viruses. But, it\u2019s unknown whether the coronavirus would be affected given its size and how long it would need to be treated for. Regardless, it is important to ensure that your home\u2019s air and the surfaces in your home are clean. According to the CDC, the spread of respiratory viruses is most often caused by close contact between people (within 6 feet). This is why it\u2019s important to follow recommendations from health authorities and maintain good airflow in rooms that you share with people confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. How to prevent against coronavirus in your home Part of being an expert means knowing when to call in the experts. We advise homeowners who are worried about the coronavirus to follow advice from The Rhode Island Department of Health. This includes: Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow Wash your hands oftenClean surfaces frequently The Department of Health has also opened a hotline for residents in Rhode Island to answer questions about the coronavirus: 401-222-8022 At GEM, we take safety very seriously. GEM Technicians use one-time-use, disposable shoe covers and gloves, and clean equipment in between each home visit. We do what we can for our neighbors and community by answering your questions about air quality, and making sure your heating and cooling system is up to date. Contact a specialist at GEM to see what options are suited to allergies, germs, and dust in your home. Remote Assist We understand you might be more cautious about who enters your home. Through our partnership with HomeX, our members can now speak to a licensed and certified technician, over the phone or through video chat. Our HomeX Remote Assist technicians can help you assess, and sometimes fix issues without the need for a home visit. If the Remote Assist technician determines that you need a service visit, we\u2019ll send a tech to your home. They\u2019ll already be briefed on exactly what\u2019s wrong and have the right tools and parts to get started right away. Remote Assist is free with HomeX digital plans. If you are not a member, you are able to access Remote Assist for $25. If the Remote Assist technician determines that you need a service visit, we\u2019ll send out a tech and credit your invoice with the fee.