Coronavirus or COVID-19 is changing how we live, obliging us to practice social distancing and promoting fervent hand-washing. Until the latest developments in biosensor testing devices for viruses allow rapid on-site and accurate verification of coronavirus infection, the cleaner we can keep the surfaces in our homes, the less we risk virus transmission amongst those we share them with.
It is essential to keep touched surfaces in homes clean to avoid spreading the virus to our kids, parents and spouses, so… the less stuff you touch the better! Since most people are puttering around trying to stay busy (and sane), it’s a great time to do easy home improvements such as adding touchless smart home automation devices that make your home more ‘hands-free’ in this crucial time.
Normally we would not suggest to our readers to go buy a bunch of gadgets to do stuff that can be done under simple human power, like flicking light switches, cleaning surfaces or opening doors, but these are not normal times. The manufacturing and shipping of products that we in the past may have thought frivolous might now help us stay healthy, stay alive, and get us all back to some sense of normalcy sooner. So let's give each other a pass and do our part to flatten the curve.
Sanitizing the surfaces in homes
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning all frequently touched household surfaces regularly to prevent transmission of Covid-19 specifically, bur also the Flu. That includes light switches, door knobs, appliance handles, stair railings, any surface that gets touched during the course of a regular day.
Remember to clean things that you may not initially think of like faucet taps, toilet handles and even the soap and hand sanitizer bottle tops and sides themselves.
It is possible to put warm water, a couple of drops of dish detergent or soap and 2 tablespoons bleach per 1 quart water to make up a sanitizing solution - but bleach while effective at killing off virus's and bacteria isn't that great for the environment, our indoor air quality or our health - and can cause some very nasty reactions if accidently mixed with the wrong products in the home.
Clean surfaces with UV easily (but with care)
Scrubbing surfaces with a disinfectant soap and water is the best way to keep your home clean, but at this time when we need to be extra vigilant, having a tool that can do it quickly and more frequently is very helpful. Just as washing hands with soap and water is better than relying on hand sanitizers, it is still very good to have them.
An anti-microbial UV light wand destroys germs, viruses and bacteria with shortwave ultraviolet waves. A UV light stick should include protective eyewear, so be sure to wear them. This is not gimmick - it actually works, but it can damage your eyes as easily as it kills germs.
Another idea we've seen that looks like a winner are the UV enclave units that we can drop our mobile phones into. Sanitizing phones has often been neglected, and let's face it, they are never far from our hands or the danger of picking up bugs and viruses. If you are in the US, check out prices and availability of UV sanitizers here - and if in Canada check cost and availability for UV sanitizers here.
Automatic soap dispensers
Touching contaminated taps and soap dispensers while we attempt to clean our hands can defeat the purpose,or leave contaminants for the next user. It is fairly likely that there are contaminants on them already.
You can purchase a liquid or foaming soap dispenser with a touch free sensor just as are commonly found in public washrooms here.
Light switches can come in contact with many different fingers over the course of a day. Switching to smart light switches can mean one point of common contact and a possible surface for virus transmission is eliminated. By using a voice activated home system like Alexa, Google Home or Apple Home Kit, we can simply speak to our lights and appliances to operate them.
Smart light switches can connect to your home Wi-Fi network and be controlled from a smartphone app. Additionally, you can configure them to automatically turn on and off based on a schedule of when you go to bed and wake up, or just sunup and sundown.
Many smart light bulbs offer the same features, but don’t require any electrical work at all. You just screw them into the compatible socket, then set them up with their associated apps. There's a whole selection of smart home equipment available online with direct home delivery - just be sure to check on compatability with whichever main operating system you choose. If in doubt, ask any savvy 10 year old to set it up for you...
Use smart speakers and displays
Voice activated smart home speakers like the Amazon Echo speaker, Apple homepod or Google Home device can allow you to keep your hands to yourself during a family dance party. If you haven’t yet used a smart speaker, it’s a simple matter of addressing your system by name and telling it what to do. “Siri, play …” or “Alexa, volume up”, and it will do your bidding for you. You can do google seaches this way as well. When connected to other smart home devices you can simply command your lights on or off or window shades opened or closed. The choice of smart home hubs is ever expanding - look for the best rated ones here.
Smart door locks
Smart door locks are deadbolt front door locks that can be operated in a number of ways - either with a smartphone, a fingerprint reader, passcodes and combinations, or with voice command to Alexa or google phone to activate smart door locks.
Everyone has probably at some point locked themselves out of their home after misplacing their keys, and possibly had to crawl in a window if you don’t have a key hidden somewhere. Smart touchless door locks are another way of reducing the amount of times in a day we can cross infect our family by touching common surfaces - though we should all be washing hands more often anyway.
This is one highly rated lock system for Alexa users, while Alexa and Iphone users can use this one, and Google Home users can unlock this one with their Android phones.
Now you know more about how to reduce home virus transmission by installing touchless smart home automation devices. Learn more about home automation and maintaining healthy indoor air quality here:
Find more about green home construction in the Ecohome Green Building Guide pages - also, learn more about the benefits of a free Ecohome Network Membership here.