How Does Indoor Heating Affect Air Quality?
The temperature has officially started to plummet in Portland. It’s now time to slip on those gloves and hats before you head out the door. But what about when you’re home? You don’t want to stay bundled up indoors, so instead, you’ll turn on your heater. Did you ever think about how this seasonal act is influencing the air quality of your home? This is what you should know when you turn on your indoor heating this year:
1. The Air Will Feel Dryer
If you’ve noticed that you’re drinking more water and applying more lotion, you may have naturally attributed that to the change of season. While your heater doesn’t actually dry out the air, the humidity just doesn’t stick around in the cold the way it does when it’s warm outside. This leads to dry skin and increased thirst.
While there aren’t many solutions to combat this seasonal issue, something that can make a dramatic difference is adding a whole-house humidifier. In addition to preventing dry skin, a humidifier helps prevent illness, static, and snoring. It may also relieve allergy symptoms and can even make your home feel warmer.
2. Your Furnace Could Be Creating Problems
The air filter in a furnace is essential to your indoor heating and air quality. It’s the barrier that traps dirt and debris from circulating in your home. This is why it’s so important to replace your filters every three months, perhaps more often during periods of heavy use or if you have pets in the home. It’s good practice to check your air filters monthly.
This is especially necessary if you have allergies or asthma. Have you noticed worsening symptoms? Switch out those filters and see if that solves the problem. It’s possible that dander, dust mites, and other allergens are building up, leading to sneezing and wheezing, and forcing your heating system to work harder to keep you warm.
Also, check to make sure your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are working. Furnaces run by natural gas, propane, and oil can easily release this dangerous colorless, odorless gas. Early detection is key to keeping you and your family healthy—and safe—all winter long.
3. You May Require Duct Cleaning
It’s recommended that you have your HVAC ducts professionally cleaned twice yearly—once in spring and once in fall. You may be wondering if this is really necessary or if your technician is just trying to recommend services that don’t actually need to be implemented that often. While it’s important to be a responsible consumer and ask these questions, duct cleaning is a necessary part of HVAC maintenance.
Just like filters, ducts become clogged with dirt, debris, and allergens. This can cause medical issues, but also leads to reduced system performance. If you want your indoor heating to work optimally all winter long, then calling for routine duct cleaning is highly recommended.
Not only will duct cleaning help your heater work its best this year, but it will also extend the life of your system, which protects your HVAC investment.
But you don’t have to wait years to see monetary savings, as having your ducts cleaned and sealed immediately reduces utility bills by 20 to 40 percent.
4. Consider Duct Sealing for Improved Indoor Heating
Utility bills spike in winter when it’s the coldest and in summer when it’s the warmest. That’s because you’re cranking your heaters or air conditioning up and this costs money. But there’s something you can do, in addition to duct cleaning, to lower your bills.
Leaky ducts reduce system efficiency by 20 to 45 percent, meaning that your home isn’t as warm as it should be or that you have to crank up the thermostat to achieve the desired result.
You don’t have to upgrade your HVAC system just to improve your system efficiency. Instead, achieve improved indoor heating with Aeroseal. This is a commercial and residential application provided by Entek to seal your ducts up to 95 percent. No other sealant available provides such effective results. After just one year, you’ll see an average utility savings of $600 to $800.
Not only is this a low-cost solution to improving your indoor air quality, the application isn’t disruptive and can be completed in just four hours. The technician will first block all furnaces, fans, and grills. Then the Aeroseal product is introduced into pressurized ducts. The small sealant particles travel along the ducts until the leaks are located and blocked. This can be seen in real-time by the customer and technician to ensure successful application.
5. Additional Steps to Improve Air Quality
Indoor heating can affect your air quality, so it’s important to keep your HVAC system running efficiently. There are other steps you can take to improve your air quality. Here are just a few to consider:
- Add houseplants to your space. They’ll filter the air, provide fresh oxygen, and beautify your space all at the same time.
- Vacuum and dust regularly to eliminate allergens and debris that will recirculate in your air.
- Make your space a non-smoking zone.
- Test your home for radon, another odorless, colorless gas.
- Use non-toxic cleaning products.
- Use paints with no or low VOCs.
- Don’t wear shoes inside to avoid tracking outside dirt around.
If you’re still not sure about your home air quality and want to have a professional assess your space, reach out to our HVAC specialists today. There are many ways your indoor air quality may be compromised, and this could be just from turning on your heater to stay warm.
However, if you take the proper steps to regularly care for your HVAC system, test for carbon monoxide, and implement a humidifier when needed, you’ll find that your home is more comfortable than ever, and you’ll want to ditch the gloves as soon as you walk in the door each day.