Unhealthy Heating? How Your Heating System May Affect Your Health
The average natural gas bill in a home is just over $60 per month. That number can climb much higher depending on whether or not you live in a big city.
Winter can be a particularly trying month for gas bills seeing as how many communities find themselves sitting at below-freezing temperatures. While running your gas heater to create a livable home environment seems like a good idea in those situations, doing so is not without its concerns.
Any heating system on the planet has the ability to make people sick. Being aware of that and taking the time to assess your heating system is integral to your ability to enjoy the warmth without adversely affecting your health.
Curious to know how your heater can make you sick/which symptoms a bad system may be causing? If you are, keep reading to learn more.
Those that are already prone to watery eyes, runny noses, and sneezing need to be mindful of their heaters. That’s because heaters blow dust and particles into the air, which may exacerbate those symptoms.
A house heating system changing your home’s temperature and creating contrast between inside and outside conditions can also wreak havoc on allergies.
It can be impossible to avoid all heating systems, allergy instigators. Still, you can lessen a heater’s impact on you by ensuring you have a look at quality heater filters and keep your ducts clean (if you have central heating).
Drying Your Sinuses
Heaters can lower the humidity in your home. Those dry conditions, while making things more comfortable in some ways, can create discomfort by drying sinuses.
People with pre-existing sinus issues may find that their sinuses become so dried out by heaters that they experience nose bleeds. Others will find themselves battling headaches.
The best solution we’ve seen to dry sinus issues when heating your home is to keep humidifiers around the house if you don’t want to have multiple humidifiers, at least plan on keeping one in your bedroom so your sinus issues can subside as you sleep.
Creating Unhealthy Heat Exposure
Do you have a heating vent close to your bed? If you do, it’s important that you manage the temperatures your heater is putting out.
Some people run high heat and bundle up before bed to combat cold weather. As heat builds throughout the night via that process, warmth can become overwhelming, which has caused people to experience heat-stroke-related symptoms like headaches, dehydration, rashes, and more.
Mitigate your risk of being exposed to artificially high temperatures overnight by setting your heater to a more neutral temperature to start. You can then gradually turn it up if you’re experiencing noticeable discomfort while sleeping.
Mold, fungi, and other bad elements can build up in air ducts when moisture is present. Even if you don’t live in a particularly wet climate, turning a heater off and on can create moisture, particularly overnight.
If your central heater’s ducts build up moisture, grow mold, and those mold spores are blown around your home when you run your heater, you will create issues. The mildest problem you might experience is fatigue. More serious reactions could be allergy attacks, trouble breathing, and severe skin irritation.
Getting your ducts cleaned annually and using quality heating filters can help offset those risks.
Suffocating Your Home’s Airflow
It can be hard to achieve good airflow throughout a home during the winter. That’s because most windows stay sealed throughout the season, and people rely on central heating/cooling systems to circulate air.
Heaters with bad fans or dirty ducts will have a hard time with circulation. That could cause discomfort in your house, creating conditions where minor health concerns can crop up, including anxiety.
Test your central heater’s fan by running just the fan setting to see if cool air moves around your house. If you’re finding that your unit’s fan isn’t pushing air the way you’d like it to, get it inspected.
Causing Coughing Fits
Coughing during the winter is a given since the season brings about the flu. If you’re noticing terrible coughing fits in your home, particularly dry, heaving coughs, your heater might be at fault.
Similar to how heaters can dry out sinuses, they can also dry throats, which will promote coughing. Humidifiers can help offset that issue.
Coughs that don’t sound dry may be driven by poor filtration pushing dust particles or other irritants around your home.
Leaking Carbon Monoxide
Perhaps the most deadly health issue various types of heating systems can propagate is carbon monoxide poisoning. Your standard heating system will burn fuel to heat a home. When that process takes place, a carbon monoxide molecule can be created during combustion.
In abundance, carbon monoxide kills. That’s why every house with a fuel-burning heater must have a monoxide detector present.
Does your rental property not have a monoxide detector? If not, request one from your landlord as they are likely legally required to install one themselves or contract a heating system installation specialist to do so.
What Health Problems Is Your Heating System Causing?
We’ve run through foundational heating system health issues many households experience. Do any of them sound like problems your family is running into?
If they do, we recommend getting your heater assessed and/or talking to a professional about how best you can mitigate your concerns. While the process of making adjustments to your heater usage may be inconvenient, believe us when we say that your health is worth the effort.
If you want to learn more about your house heating system, we recommend digging deeper into the real estate topics we cover on our blog.