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Is Your HVAC System Making You Sick?

woman sniffles

Our heating and cooling systems work hard to keep our homes comfortable but, without proper care and maintenance, they might actually be making us sick. Taking a proactive approach to identifying potential problems, however, can help avert disaster. Here are some things you should consider.

Spreading Allergens

dusty vent

The air quality inside of our homes is actually much worse than it is outside because allergens can become trapped and redistributed by our HVAC systems. As a result, allergy sufferers may feel the effects on their health with symptoms such as:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Bloody nose
  • Fatigue

While you should always be vigilant about health, if you find yourself feeling worse than normal or have been fighting bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia, address the situation immediately. Seek treatment from a medical professional and then create a plan for improving your home’s indoor air quality.

Take action: Air ducts and ductwork should be cleaned and inspected on a regular basis. Any holes, leaks, or gaps in ductwork should be repaired to keep allergens from being distributed throughout your home.

Improper Humidification

humidity gauge

The humidity levels inside of our homes can play an important role in our quality of life. This is even more important in certain climates, such as Virginia, where things can get very humid. Still, you don’t want the air in your home to be too dry, either. Fortunately, a good HVAC system equipped with a humidifier can help keep your home comfortable and safe all year round.

 

 

 

 

Air that is too moist inside of your home can cause:

  • Mold and mildew
  • Dust mites
  • Arthritis flare-ups
  • Condensation on windows and floors

Meanwhile, air that is too dry is associated with:

  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Flu viruses that last longer and spread faster
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dry, chapped skin
  • Static electricity
  • Creaky floors

Take action: A whole-house humidifier can dramatically improve the air quality inside your home by keeping moisture at an optimal level. Proper humidification can help alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms and reduce bouts of sickness.

New Construction

New home

Whether your home was recently, renovated, or is surrounded by construction, chemicals and debris can collect in your HVAC system and then start circulating throughout your home. This can have a negative impact on your well-being without you even realizing it.

Take action: whenever construction is occurring within or around your home, be extra conscientious about your cleaning efforts. Change your air filters and have your HVAC system’s air ducts cleaned more frequently to prevent buildup and keep your windows closed to prevent extra debris from entering your home.

Poor Air Distribution

cold indoors

Have you ever noticed that one room in your home is hotter, cooler, or stuffier than the rest of the house? This is a sign of poor air distribution. While you might be willing to grin and bear your discomfort, you should never ignore this type of problem because this can affect air quality in those areas.

Take action: If it seems as though air isn’t circulating evenly throughout your home, an HVAC technician investigate the problem, provide a diagnostic report and perform repairs, if needed.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide

A malfunctioning or inefficient heating system can potentially release carbon monoxide inside your home. Because it’s odorless and tasteless, you may not even know you’ve been exposed until it’s too late. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

 

Take action: If members of your household experience a sudden onset of those symptoms, leave the house immediately as carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. Have your heating system serviced regularly to identify problems sooner rather than later and replace old or faulty HVAC units as soon as possible.

Consult a Professional

Furnace maintenance

We depend on our heating and cooling systems to keep our homes comfortable year-round, but neglecting to have them serviced on a regular basis can put your family’s health and security at risk. It’s normal for debris to build up and for our HVAC systems to experience wear and tear over time, so be sure to schedule regular HVAC system maintenance and eliminate health hazards before they begin.

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