Is your HVAC making you sick? It's the end of November, which means that winter is just around the corner. As such, all the time we've been enjoying outside these past few months will end as we start spending more of our time indoors to keep warm. Yes, we typically have mild winters in North Carolina, but we also know that the average person spends about 90 percent of their time indoors during the winter months according to the EPA.
Spending more of your time indoors isn't typically a problem, although indoor air quality tends to be more polluted than outdoor air quality. However, this year we have the added threat of the coronavirus to add to our troubles.
If you're coughing or sneezing more than usual, but you've been on "lock-down" for weeks, then it's possible that you don't have the coronavirus. Rather your HVAC could be to blame! With that in mind, today we'll look at some ways you can make sure that your HVAC system doesn't make you sick this year.
1. Replace Your Air Filters
If you find yourself sneezing or coughing a lot, it's possible that your HVAC is making you sick. One of the very first things you should do is replace the air filters throughout your home. We recommend that you change these every three months at a minimum, but excess sneezing is usually an indication that there is excess dust in the air. There is nothing wrong with replacing your air filters more frequently, especially during a coronavirus winter. Make sure to mark your calendar and be consistent.
However, if you're already replacing your filters on a consistent basis, it could be that the cheap filters you've been buying just aren't cutting it. In fact, they could be the exact reason that your HVAC is making you sick. Better safe than sorry, you may want to upgrade to a higher efficiency filter. Yes, they may be a few dollars more, but they tend to trap more pollutants and allergens that affect our indoor air quality.
2. Have Your Ductwork Inspected
If you're coughing or sneezing more than usual, and you've never had your ductwork inspected, it's possible that your HVAC is making you sick.
We tend to forget about our ductwork. Yes, it's essential, but it's also not usually visible. Therefore, we tend to forget about it until it causes a real problem. However, air flows through your ductwork all year long. It's always possible that there could be a crack or leak in your ductwork that is causing air to flow into places where it should be such as your crawl space or attic (in the same way that air can leak from your windows and doors). Pollutants that would normally be trapped by your air filters can turn into contaminants that grow into the nasty mold or attract insects that can take over your home. Not only is it gross, but it can make you sick.
The only way to make sure that your ductwork is doing its job is to have an HVAC technician inspect them. We can tell you if your ductwork is overly dirty and needs cleaning or if there are leaks that need to be repaired.
3. Avoid Toxic Chemicals
The Coronavirus has caused many of us to go overboard when it comes to cleaning our home. As such, it's possible that you've brought in toxic cleaners into your home in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. Some of these cleaners will release toxins into the air supply that will continue to wreak havoc on your respiratory system long after they've "done their job." Therefore, be careful about the types of chemicals you're bringing into your home, especially if you're coughing or sneezing a lot. Yes, your HVAC could be making you sick since those toxins will move every time your system's fan turns on, but you can avoid the problem entirely by not using certain chemicals or cleaners.
4. Schedule a Maintenance Visit
If you're sneezing or coughing a lot, your body may be telling you that you're long overdue for an HVAC maintenance visit. We often recommend that you schedule a maintenance check at the start of Fall and Spring to ensure your heating and cooling equipment are working properly. If you haven't already done so, go ahead and give Choice HVAC a call at 919-435-2711 to schedule your semi-annual appointment. These visits allow us to make sure that your equipment is clean, minor repairs are fixed, and that any issues are addressed.