As the days get cooler, it’s common for people to start taking a look at their thermostats and begin adjustments to kick on the furnace at appropriate times and get rid of chilly morning ASAP. However, it’s important to remember that your furnace may not have seen operation for at least several months, and problems could have cropped up.
A dirty furnace isn’t just bad for your energy bills: It can also cause various health issues, especially if it has not had any maintenance for a long time. Let’s take a look at what symptoms may be caused by a struggling furnace.
Breathing Issues and Coughing
If you've been experiencing breathing issues and coughing fits it’s a good idea to check out your furnace if these issues are ongoing, relatively mild, and not accompanied by a fever. Why? Because furnaces not in use can become homes to fungi and bacteria that will happily grow there over time, especially if there is any moisture present to speed things along. Turn on the fans, and those particles start swirling around your home, which means everyone is breathing them in. This leads to issues with your lungs, mild coughs, and frequent runny noses.
Even worse is if moisture gathers in your ducts and creates mold, which can spread spores around the house. These spores can have similar effects, but certain mold types are even more dangerous to human health and may cause permanent damage – and mold is notoriously difficult to get rid of.
Furnaces rarely add moisture to the air, and in some cases, can even dry air out even more with their heat. This can cause air quality problems, especially as homes and buildings close off to outside air when things get colder. The result can be very dry air that irritates your nasal passages, leading to runny noses and sore throats.
Allergens caused by bacteria, fungi, mold, and other issues can also cause headaches, a common symptom when dealing with allergy problems. The rapid switch between low and high temperatures can also create headaches and sick feelings for some people.
Allergies can also cause itchy eyes – and so can regular dust being spread throughout the air. If your furnace hasn’t been cleaned all year, it could be harboring a lot of dust built up and is now filling your home. Itchy and watering eyes can result, especially if you are near a furnace vent.
The combination of dry air and closed-off spaces, plus quickly changing temperatures, may also lead to skin irritation for some people. That can create itchy and dry skin and exacerbate existing skin conditions that people might have.
Do you suspect that your HVAC system may be causing some health issues around your home? Call us to arrange an inspection or a maintenance visit to ensure your furnace and ducts are ready for action – and not a threat to your health.