Your Furnace Could Be Making You Sick
With temperatures dropping as winter approaches, many Americans are turning on furnaces as a way to warm up the home. While a warm house creates a cozy holiday atmosphere, there are many ways a furnace may be the hidden cause of illness within the home. In addition, gas furnaces present consumers with the risk of personal injury.
Gas Furnaces Can Be Dangerous
Nearly 57% of American homes are heated with a gas furnace. Natural gas furnaces can expose homeowners to the risk of personal injury. A poorly maintained or defective heating system can release harmful emissions into the home, such as carbon monoxide or methane. Additionally, failure to keep ducts and filters clean releases dust and other contaminants into the air, lowering the overall quality of air within the home. This could lead to symptoms of illness or an increase in allergy-related symptoms.
People who are performing at-home maintenance on household heating systems run the risk of electric shock, as there are ample wires and electronic mechanisms involved. The prevalence of house fires increases greatly during the winter, and often natural gas heating systems are to blame.
Symptoms of Furnace Influenced Illness
A variety of furnace influenced symptoms often get mistaken for seasonal allergies or common colds. However, the contaminants released into the air by a poorly maintained furnace may be to blame for an individual’s discomfort. Some common symptoms experienced as a result of furnace contaminants are coughing, sneezing, congestion, a sudden increase in dust allergies, dry or itchy eyes, headaches, and sore throat. In addition, a home heating system that does not properly circulate air can lead to illness or injury. Repeatedly going from cold rooms to hot rooms can reduce blood supply to the heart and increase blood pressure. This could result in a heart attack, angina, or abnormal heartbeat.
Preventing Illness and Injuries From Furnaces
Taking preventative action is the best way to reduce the risk of illness or injury as a result of faulty furnaces. Seasonal maintenance tune-ups are a great way to ensure that all components of the heating system are working properly and safely. Changing filters and cleaning ducts and vents can reduce the number of contaminants in the air. Keeping the area around the furnace clear of clutter reduces the risk of a fire. Carbon monoxide detectors alert homeowners to the presence of harmful emissions before symptoms become severe.