When we think of air pollution, we often picture smoggy skies and factory smokestacks. However, the air inside our homes can be just as harmful to our health. One often overlooked factor that can impact indoor air quality is our heating system and the output of heat that comes from it, whether that’s from modern tall radiators, or rustic cast iron. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how your heating system can impact your indoor air quality and what you can do to improve it.
The Importance of Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the quality of the air inside buildings and structures as it relates to the health and comfort of the occupants. Poor IAQ can cause a range of health issues, including respiratory problems, headaches, and fatigue. In extreme cases, it can even lead to more serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease
Heating Systems and Indoor Air Quality
Most homes use a heating system to keep their homes warm during the colder months. These heating systems can impact IAQ in a number of ways. First, forced air heating systems can blow dust and other allergens around the home. When you turn on your heat for the first time in the fall, you may notice a musty smell. This is often caused by dust and other particles that have settled in your ducts over the summer. When you turn on your heating system, these particles are blown around your home, causing poor IAQ.
Second, heating systems that use gas or oil can emit harmful gases such as carbon monoxide if they are not functioning properly. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that can cause headaches, dizziness, and even death.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
There are a number of steps you can take to improve IAQ in your home.
First, change your air filters regularly. Air filters are designed to capture dust and other particles that can impact IAQ. However, if they are not changed regularly, they can become clogged and actually make IAQ worse. Check your filters once a month and replace them as needed.
Second, consider investing in an air purifier. Air purifiers work by removing particles from the air, improving IAQ. There are a number of different types of air purifiers available, including those that use HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, and UV-C light.
Third, have your heating system serviced regularly. A qualified HVAC technician can check your heating system to ensure it is functioning properly and not emitting harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. They can also clean your ducts to remove dust and other particles that can impact IAQ.
Alternative Heating Options
If you are concerned about the impact your heating system is having on IAQ, there are alternative heating options available. Radiant heating systems use radiant energy to heat objects and surfaces in a room rather than the air. This can help improve IAQ by reducing the amount of dust and other particles that are blown around the room.
Another option is to use a wood stove or pellet stove for heat. While these heating options do emit particles into the air, they can be less harmful than forced air heating systems. However, it’s important to properly maintain these heating systems to ensure they are functioning properly and not emitting harmful gases.
Your heating system can have a significant impact on IAQ. Forced air heating systems can blow dust and other allergens around your home while heating systems that use gas or oil can emit harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. To improve IAQ, it’s important to change your air filters regularly, consider investing in an air purifier, have your heating system serviced regularly, and consider alternative heating options. By taking these steps, you can help ensure the air inside your home is clean and healthy.