If you're like many of our customers, you've been spending substantially more time at home over the past 8 months than you have in years past, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic. And while COVID-19 has certainly changed the way we learn and work, it's also increased the workload on our home operating systems. Specifically, our HVAC systems are having to work harder than ever to keep our homes comfortable. As a result, your HVAC may need to be serviced more frequently (we are certainly responding to your calls for tune-ups and service requests) and your indoor air quality may be affected. Today we're going to spend a little bit of time discussing how too much togetherness and your HVAC equipment is impacting your indoor air quality.
Is there such a thing as too much togetherness?
Too much togetherness is rather subjective, but when it comes to "togetherness" as it relates to your HVAC and indoor air quality - yes, you can spend too much time together. For example, we know that there are a number of things you can do to help your HVAC system run more efficiently, but without regular maintenance, all that togetherness you've been spending with your family at home will start to take its toll on indoor air quality.
More specifically, when you're at home all the time, you may notice that your air filters are incredibly dirty if you wait a full three months before replacing them. This is just a symptom of a much larger problem, which is why it's incredibly important to keep those semi-annual tune-ups. Without regular maintenance, you may be inadvertently:
- Allowing dust and allergens (even bacteria) to circulate freely throughout your home,
- Operating your HVAC ineffectively,
- Creating hot and cold spots, and
- Creating an imbalance of humidity, making you uncomfortable.
All that said, getting back to business as usual (kids in school, you back to the office) may not be possible right now, but how you treat your HVAC is within your control. Let's take a look at some things you should consider:
Is Your HVAC Blowing Too Much Air?
While you're spending all this extra time around the house, you may be noticing functions of your home that you've never paid close attention to. For example, is your HVAC equipment sized correctly? If not, it might not be operating as efficiently as possible; and that problem will only worsen with age.
Pay particular attention to any breaks in seals around windows and doors. Obviously, you want to seal any leaks, but if you find yourself opening and closing your windows and doors even more as a result of being home, you may be putting undue stress on your HVAC system as well as the quality of the air you're letting into your home.
As such, now is a great time to schedule a tune-up before you get too deep into winter.
Do you smell that?
Does your house smell? Granted, dad being around more often can cause a certain odor that we just can't help, but that "smell" could be coming from your ventilation. Ventilation plays a critical role in your HVAC system. Without it, there's no way for your heating and cooling systems to operate with any level of efficiency. However, having ductwork throughout your home can also impact your indoor air quality.
If you're noticing any unpleasant odors, or have a room(s) that aren't heating or cooling as they should, your ventilation system may be to blame. We've often experienced stinky smells coming from unused bathrooms. Sometimes just running the water for a while can clear out the system. If that doesn't work, you may want to give us a call to see what's going on.
Is too much togetherness making you sick?
No, seriously. Sick building syndrome is a common worldwide health concern in which people in a specific building (single-family homes included) suffer from illnesses in direct proportion to how much time they are spending inside that building. Considering how so many people have retreated inside during this pandemic to avoid getting sick, it's completely possible that all that togetherness inside your home is the exact reason you're getting sick.
We could tell you to spend more time outdoors, but on a more serious note, if you are noticing your symptoms more often when you're inside, it could be your home that is causing the problem, and the number one reason you should give us a call. Your home should not be making you sick!
One of our experienced HVAC technicians can ensure that the humidity levels in your home are where they should be, and that the air supply is flowing freely from room to room. They will also ensure any leaks are fixed, and that fresh air is flowing in properly.
With all that said, the combination of spending more time at home, along with your HVAC equipment can have a huge impact on indoor air quality. Before it gets any colder, be sure to give Choice HVAC a call at 919-435-2711and find out if your HVAC equipment is working as efficiently as it should be.