As the cold weather arrives, many people are beginning to turn on their heat. With the change in temperature and use of furnaces, new airborne bacteria can easily enter your home. Here are a few signs that your winter cold may be caused by your heating unit.
The dirt, dust, debris, pollen, animal dander, and hair that’s been building up may be out of sight, hidden in the heating ducts above your ceilings, behind your walls, or under your floors. But your body may feel their effects once you fire up your forced air furnace. If each fall, you or one of your family members come down with mysterious headaches, dizzy spells, burning eyes, or don’t feel good, it’s most likely not the flu. Think about it — does the onset of these symptoms coincide with the first cold day that called for turning on the heat? Dirty ducts can be a health hazard, and if that’s not an emergency, we don’t know what is!
The Best of Energy-Saving Intentions Can Make You Sick
In the interest of conserving energy, most HVAC systems recirculate the air we breathe. Combine this with the fact that today’s well-insulated, airtight homes see to it that no cold air enters. This means that the same pet dander, pollen, dust, and dust mites that have been sitting in your heating ducts all summer long have been released back into your breathing space, especially if your furnace still has the same filters in place that it did last heating season. And if moisture has gotten into the ducts, making them a perfect environment for mold growth, you can add mold spores to the mix. So what can you do?
HVAC Duct Cleaning
You may want to look into having your air conditioning and heating ducts cleaned. Typically, this service involves cleaning all the components of forced air heating and cooling systems including:
- supply and return air ducts
- heat exchangers
- cooling coils
- condensate drip pans
- fan motor
- fan housing
Duct Cleaning May Help Your Dry Winter as Well
Dry skin and winter go hand-in-hand. When the cold winds blow, and the temperature plummets, the humidity level of outside air drops, and your skin’s moisture levels drop too. Inside the house where we choose to spend as much time as possible, the heated air presents its own problems since it’s also dry. Dermatologists say that since the skin can lose up to 25 percent of its ability to hold moisture in winter, you should set the thermostat at the lowest temperature that’s comfortable.
But if your furnace needs a winter maintenance service, this doesn’t necessarily mean the heater will give your skin any reprieve by running less of the time. Dirt and dust impair the heater’s ability to run efficiently if they are getting in the way of its various components. Clogged heat exchangers take longer to warm the air. Blower fans whose blades or motors are caked with pet dander and hair cannot circulate warmed air as quickly. The same is true when dust saturated air filters cannot let air through.
This means your furnace has to run longer and your skin will get drier. You can use moisturizer and run a humidifier as skin care experts recommend, but you can also call and schedule winter maintenance service which may include duct cleaning.
If you’re not sure if your home needs duct cleaning, our trained and experienced service technicians can be a source of advice. Call us today at Buckeye Heating & Cooling for more information.