Even with the widespread availability of flu vaccines, influenza is a major problem in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about 20 percent of U.S. residents catch the flu each year, with more than 20,000 ending up in the hospital for related complications each year.

Officials with Nashville, Tenn.-based HVAC wholesaler Comfort Supply say this provides an excellent opportunity for contractors to sell the health benefits of filters and HVAC systems in general.

“By assisting your customers with indoor air quality product selections and installations this fall, you can grow your business while protecting the health of your customers’ families,” said Billy Jobe, Comfort Supply’s sales and marketing manager. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Comfort Supply said a couple IAQ products from Novi, Mich.-based GeneralAire can help homeowners battle flu germs this season. The VectorFlo is an ultraviolet air purifier that uses a process called photocatalytic oxidation to kill germs, bacteria and viruses.

The unit has a catalyst which absorbs UV-C light over 3,400 square feet of surface area, eliminating not only germs but odors.

Tony Burks, director of sales for General Filters, said the product really shines a light on harmful substances.

“The VectorFlo works like the sun outdoors to kill germs, bacteria and viruses, thereby reducing the occurrences of flu, colds and infection and keeping your family healthy,” Burks said. “It’s 93.6 percent effective in eradicating viral and bacterial agents.”

Another suggestion is a whole-house dehumidifier designed for year-round use. A dehumidifier can automatically sample the air, increasing humidity or lowering it to a preset level. The  American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers recommends keeping indoor relative humidity levels between 40 percent and 60 percent year-round for comfort and to minimize the risk of bacteria, mites and viruses, Comfort Supply officials said. Another study, recommends even keeping humidity below 51 percent.

GeneralAire’s Model No. 1300 can remove up to 130 pints of moisture per day.