How Your Furnace Affects Indoor Air Quality
Your furnace keeps you warm and toasty, but is it sabotaging your health by affecting air quality in your home? Protect the air quality in your home with the help of these simple furnace tips:
How old is the filter?
The air filter in your furnace is essential to air quality, removing dirt and debris from the air before it enters your system, your ducts, and eventually your home. The air filter in your furnace should be cleaned or replaced at least every three months. Irritants and allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and more build up in dirty filters, increasing exposure and worsening the effects on those with sensitivities. To make matters worse, all that buildup causes your furnace to struggle, sabotaging its efficiency and lifespan. Afraid you’ll forget filter cleaning or replacement?
Is your furnace emitting dangerous gas?
What type of heating system do you have? If your furnace uses natural gas, propane, or oil to keep your house warm, the air quality in your home could become contaminated by dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas. Colorless and odorless, this gas is produced as a by-product of combustion. If not properly and adequately ventilated, its buildup in your home can be deadly. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea that can progress to mental confusion, vomiting, loss of muscle coordination and consciousness, heart and brain damage, and ultimately death. If you have a combustion style furnace, protect your air quality and your family by installing a carbon monoxide detector today.
Is that wheezing, old furnace making you wheeze too?
Old furnaces often fail to properly moisturize and clean the air in your home. If your home feels stuffy and stale or you begin to notice an increase in allergy symptoms, frequent static shocks, drooping plants or cracking furniture, your old furnace may be to blame. In addition, as combustion furnaces age, the risk of the heat exchanger developing cracks increases. Annual furnace inspections are essential – even on newer furnaces - to detecting these often invisible cracks which could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If your furnace is in the 16-20 year age range, it may be time to start shopping.
Want to give air quality a boost?
Upgrading to a higher quality air filter featuring tighter weaves can help trap smaller contaminants, resulting in cleaner air and a healthier home environment. You can identify these top-quality filters by their MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). A mid-range filter of no higher than a MERV 8 offers increased filtration; however, you should consult an HVAC professional prior to upgrading the air filter on your furnace to prevent excess strain on your system resulting from airflow restrictions and filter incompatibility.
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