There’s no doubt that cold weather has officially arrived. Chances are, you’ll be relying mainly on your home’s heating system to keep you comfortable through the cold weather that awaits us all.
Now, your furnace may be doing the job of keeping you warm and toasty, but is it sabotaging your health by affecting the air quality in your home ?
It very well might be. With that being said, there are a few things to keep in mind as you start up your furnaces.
An overload of dust can be dispersed by running your furnace for the first time. When you first turn it on for the season, you might notice a burnt dust smell in the air. This happens because during the warmer months, your heating ducts accumulate a lot of allergens and dust, so when you turn your furnace on for the first time, your home becomes flooded with everything’s that accumulated, which can eventually lead to allergies and other respiratory issues.
Check Your Filters
The filter in your furnace is essential to the quality of air in your home. It removes dirt and debris (basically any contaminants) from the air before it enters your ducts, system, and eventually throughout your home.
To make matters of the situation worse, all of that buildup can cause your furnace to struggle, sabotaging its efficiency and lifespan.
With that being said, it is advised to clean or replace your filters every 3 months. The longer you wait, the more pollen, dust mites, and pet dander sit on your filters.
If you fail to replace your filters or get annual furnace inspections, chances are your furnace will fail to properly moisturize and clean the air in your home.
If your home feels stuffy and you are beginning to notice an increase in allergy symptoms, it’s advised to call an HVAC contractor immediately to properly assess the situation.
Your Furnace Could Be Emitting Dangerous Gas
If your furnace is using natural gas or propane oil to keep your house warm, the air quality could become contaminated by dangerous carbon monoxide gas (CO).
This gas is colorless and odorless, it’s normally produced as a by-product of combustion.
If your furnace isn’t ventilated, it can be extremely harmful to your home. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
1) Shortness of breath
5) Vomiting with a loss of muscle coordination
If you have a combustion style furnace, you can protect and monitor your air quality by installing a carbon monoxide detector.
How Do You Fix It ?
Upgrading to a higher quality air filter or furnace can help produce cleaner air and a healthier home environment. Top quality filters can be identified by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). A mid-range filter of no higher than a MERV of 8 can offer increased ventilation, however, it is advised to consult with an HVAC professional prior to upgrading to make sure your home is compatible for your choice.