Although it took a while to feel like winter in many parts of the country, there’s no doubt that cold weather has arrived. As we start turning on our furnaces and space heaters, there are a few things to keep in mind. An overload of dust can be dispersed by running your furnace, especially for the first time. Help keep your air clean and fresh (and lower your risk of feeling bad around the holidays) by completing a few small tasks around your house.
When you turn on your furnace for the first time each year, you might notice a “burnt dust” smell in the air—I know I did! During warmer months, your heating ducts accumulate a lot of dust and other allergens. When it’s time to turn it back on, your home is flooded with all that has accumulated over the last year, which can lead to allergies and other respiratory issues.
It may not seem like a huge deal, but the dust and other particles floating around can also compromise your immune system. If your body is busy fighting off the impurities in your air, you’re more vulnerable to other infections like the common cold or flu.
Fortunately there are a couple of ways you can diminish this problem:
- Use air filters to catch the dust and debris. Clean permanent filters and use HEPA filters to catch as many unwanted allergens as possible.
- Install eco friendly heaters that don’t spread as much dust and allergens into the air.
- Have your heating ducts cleaned regularly, especially just before you fire them up for the year.
- Use a humidifier if your air is dry. Dry air can irritate your sinuses and cause sore throats, so make sure your humidity is between 35% and 50%.
The best way to improve your indoor air while running your furnace or heater is to use all of these strategies. The bottom line is that it’s not the air that’s bad for you; it’s the dust and allergens that accumulate when your heater’s not in use. Be sure to have adequate filtration and cleaning processes, so you can enjoy a warm home without some of these nasty side effects.
I’ve been running my heat for more than two months now (I live in North Dakota)! When did you decide it was time to kick on the furnace?
Photo Credit: Fireplace by Travis Wiens on Flickr.