Is Your Old Heating and Cooling System Making You Sick?
As the Dads of America have been known to say when it comes to , “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. However, when it comes to your heating and cooling system, even if your outdated furnace or air conditioner is functioning mechanically, it could be causing harm to the health of you and your family.
Here is what you need to know about how your HVAC could be affecting the overall health of your Nashville area home, what signs to look out for, and how upgrading your heating and cooling equipment can provide lasting benefits.
Understanding HVAC & IAQ
These two acronyms are inextricably related in a way most homeowners here in Nashville do not consider. This is often because the “V” in HVAC is easily tossed aside! HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Because all of the air in your home is handled by a heating and cooling system, ventilation and filtration are important to increasing the quality of the air in your living space—also known as your indoor air quality (IAQ).
As contaminants enter your home, whether it is from the outside like through an open window or open door, or stemming from indoor sources like cleaning products and construction material, they will continue to recirculate your breathing air via your heating and cooling system. The more contaminated your air becomes, the lower your IAQ.
Poor IAQ can cause unwanted health symptoms for your family and your home, including:
Increased allergy-like symptoms
Headache & fatigue
Mold growth & structural damage
These, along with many other identifiable symptoms can signify you are suffering from sick building syndrome.
Upgrading Your HVAC Can Impact Your Health
Even if your home is adequately comfortable, the ductwork, furnace, or air conditioner in your home may still require an upgrade if you are going to keep your home a healthy place to eat, work, play, sleep, and live. There are a few ways in which a home comfort system can deteriorate to the point of causing health concerns (symptoms like sore throats, dry or irritated sinuses, headaches, fatigue, and even bloody noses), including:
Central ductwork is extremely common, and notorious for being poorly designed as well as leaky. Leaks allow your expensive and conditioned air to escape before they reach the rooms of your home, and they allow outside contaminants in, like dust, mildew and mold from excess moisture, and other bacteria and viruses.
Furnaces and Air Conditioners
Because HVAC is often all lumped together in one central system, it is common to find one filtration system to do the work for all of the home comfort equipment in the home. If your system is older or outdated, the size and type of air filter you are using may no longer be sufficient for your home’s IAQ needs. We also find that some air conditioners and furnaces have worn out over time due to excess coil buildup, or issues with the blower fan, causing them to use more electricity to provide the conditioned air you need.
What We Recommend
Here at E3 INNOVATE, we lean heavily on the idea that there is no single fix when it comes to solving your home health and comfort issues. The entire home should be looked at as a series of interconnected systems, and changes in one will affect the others.
For instance, another common problem when it comes to improving indoor air quality are the leaks that exist throughout a home’s construction. By sealing up those leaks with a process called air sealing, and upgrading the insulation in key areas like the attic, it may be that your air conditioner is now oversized for your home's cooling load. So, instead of replacing your outdated air conditioner, we may recommend a series of ductless mini split heat pumps that provide targeted heating and cooling and remove the IAQ threat of leaky or poorly designed ductwork.
From there, we can implement more effective IAQ and ventilation solutions like oven hood fans, bathroom fans, and even whole-house ventilation systems designed to circulate fresh, filtered air from the outside. Whatever your HVAC system or IAQ needs, E3 INNOVATE is here to help by finding the right solution, not just the easiest solution.