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How Your Furnace Affects Indoor Air Quality

It’s nice to be warm, (what’s better than returning to a toasty home on a freezing cold day?) but it’s also nice to be able to breathe safely indoors!  So while you should enjoy your furnace’s warmth, it’s also important to be aware that an improperly maintained or damaged furnace can present several risks to your family’s health.

Read on to learn more about the relationship between your furnace and your indoor air quality, and discover how you proper maintenance can protect the air you breathe.

Do Furnaces Negatively Impact Indoor Air Quality?

The short answer is no, as long as you’re taking good care of the furnace. However, furnaces can decrease your indoor air quality when neglected or if they develop problems like cracks or leaks. The impact can range from increased allergy symptoms to life-threatening issues so it’s important to be informed and take action.

Air Quality Issues Caused By Faulty Furnaces:

Pollen and Dust

While it’s not necessarily life-threatening, one common issue with furnaces is pollen and dust accumulation/circulation caused by a dirty or outdated air filter in the furnace.

Basic furnace maintenance provides an easy fix, as the filter can be professionally cleaned or replaced to restore freshness in your home. If you or your family suffer from allergies, it is important to have HVAC specialists inspect your heating system before the cold temperatures set in.

Carbon Monoxide

One of the biggest dangers a furnace can pose to your air quality is carbon monoxide (CO) contamination. Because some furnace types rely on gas and combustion to produce heat, CO is a potential byproduct of the unit doing its job.

Unfortunately, CO is tasteless, colorless, and void of odor. This is why — if your furnace is combustion-based — it’s critical that you have a carbon monoxide detector implemented as soon as possible. Having a properly installed CO detector is the only way to be certain your air quality is safe. Our fully certified HVAC professionals at Exxel Mechanical Services can ensure that your CO detector is installed and functioning correctly. Don’t take a gamble with your family’s health.

It is also imperative that you know the signs of CO poisoning in your house’s air quality. You should seek medical attention immediately if you, your loved ones, and/or pets are experiencing a sudden onset of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting

Once you’ve taken care of yourself and your loved ones, contact trained furnace specialists to assess the situation.  Remember, CO contamination requires the services of trained professionals, so don’t try to resolve the issue yourself.

Remember, a properly working, well-maintained furnace doesn’t pose a risk to your home’s air quality, so keeping the unit on an annual maintenance plan is definitely a good investment.

Signs You Need Furnace Repair or Maintenance

If your air quality seems off, take a moment to listen to the furnace itself. If you hear rattling, this probably indicates loose or broken components that could damage or clog the air filter.

If the atmosphere feels heavy, this can also indicate that the air filter in the heating system is blocked and needs repair and/or cleaning. Additionally, strange or unpleasant smells, particularly ones that spread throughout the house, can indicate mechanical problems. A smoking furnace indicates you need HVAC repair; these fumes can also impair health.

Any mechanical issues in the unit will be accelerated due to the interconnected nature of furnace construction. Individual components constantly work together to create heat, making it easy for damaged sections to break other parts of the unit. When this happens, your air quality will suffer. You can avoid air quality problems, including CO contamination, by simply keeping your furnace maintained.

Healthy Furnace = Good Air Quality

A healthy furnace makes for a healthy, warm home. Don’t wait for your furnace to break when a simple annual tune-up can spot and resolve issues early before they become major problems.  In addition to saving you money on repairs, maintenance is a safety precaution for the whole family. You’ll be able to use your furnace with true peace of mind!

Contact Exxel Mechanical Services For Expert Furnace and Indoor Air Quality Services

Are you experiencing furnace problems or concerned about your indoor air quality? Uncertain what’s wrong with your furnace? We offer free consultations to homeowners throughout the central Maryland area. We’ll examine your unit and give you the best options for quality furnace performance. Give us a call at (443) 821-1040 to get started!