It’s not unusual to notice a sore throat and stuffy nose during the winter months when viruses and respiratory illnesses spread more rapidly or during hay fever season when allergens like pollen are in full bloom. Because of this, you may not give such issues a second thought. However, perhaps you should, especially if your breathing problems seem to linger or are particularly bothersome. What many people don’t realize is their HVAC system could be to blame for their discomfort.

Your heating or cooling system has a significant influence on your home’s air quality. If the air you breathe contains contaminants or is otherwise unhealthy, you’re sure to notice physical ramifications. Fortunately, there are steps you can take toward alleviating the negative health effects you may unknowingly be experiencing due to a faulty or inefficient indoor temperature comfort system. A professional HVAC service company can diagnose specific issues within your home and implement various solutions. Here’s what to know about the ways an HVAC can cause respiratory problems and what to do about it.

Poor Air Quality

Your HVAC system could be a main contributor to poor air quality within your home. This is particularly true if you haven’t had your system inspected or maintained with regularity. A system with dirty ductwork and filters is blowing pollutants throughout your entire living space, causing toxins like dust, mites, dander, and more to enter your airways. If you suffer from seasonal or other allergies, your HVAC system is almost certainly making your symptoms worse. Professional HVAC maintenance could be the key to alleviating the problem.

Temperature Fluctuations

Another common occurrence you may experience if your system is outdated or poorly maintained is fluctuating temperature. Ever noticed cold spots or drafts in certain rooms of your abode? Maybe there’s one particular spot that never seems to get as cool as the rest of the place when the AC is running. Sudden temperature changes aren’t likely to be the direct cause of illness, but they can be a source that contributes to a proclivity toward developing respiratory issues in certain people. The body must adapt to certain changes in climate, which is what can trigger illness. Some of the ways your body may react to ever-changing environmental temperature fluctuations can include sinus pressure, swollen tissues, and a compromised immune system. A new, efficient HVAC system or improved ductwork are solutions that could help.

Improper Humidity

Poor humidity, either too high or too low, is yet another HVAC issue that could worsen respiratory health. If the air blowing throughout your home is excessively dry or too moist, you may notice some physical symptoms develop in response. Dry, itchy skin, eyes, and nasal passages develop when there’s not enough moisture in the air. Mucous membranes within the respiratory system can dry out, leading to potential chest congestion, coughing, sore throat, and nose bleeds. Those with existing conditions like COPD, asthma, or chronic bronchitis will want to rectify such situations. Dry skin can crack, leaving it vulnerable to infection. Without sufficient tears to provide lubrication, you could develop irritation or infection in your eyes.

High humidity can also be a major problem within your home because it can cause your environment to be damp and uncomfortable. Too much moisture in the air creates an ideal environment for the growth of mold and the spread of bacteria or other pollutants that thrive in moist, dark spaces. To solve your humidity issues, you should consider looking into solutions like a humidifier or de-humidifier, depending on your particular need. These come in room-size units or ones that can address whole-house humidification.

Symptoms to Watch Out for

If you’re dealing with respiratory issues, you’ll want first to consult your physician. However, it’s important to be aware of some common symptoms that can be caused by some of the above-mentioned HVAC issues. One of the biggest tell-tale health concerns can be breathing difficulties. If you notice a stuffy nose, wheezing, or coughing, your indoor air quality could be to blame. Itchy, watery eyes are also symptoms that go hand in hand with respiratory problems. Often accompanied by breathing issues and watery eyes is the dreaded runny nose. Poor humidity could exacerbate irritants like this or dry, itchy eyes.

Allergies may be the reason you’re constantly wiping or rubbing your eyes, but it’s important to remember that allergies can often be significantly impacted by a compromised HVAC system. Be aware that these issues have the potential to become quite serious, going beyond discomfort or annoyance. Holes in the ductwork or dirty filters are things that are often at work behind the scenes. When microorganisms float through your inside air, they could cause hazardous health conditions like Legionnaires’ Disease, a type of pneumonia that could be fatal. You also don’t want to dismiss symptoms such as persistent and painful headaches, serious fatigue, or irritated skin. All could be due to poor indoor air quality related to your HVAC system and could also be warnings of other relevant health concerns.

When compromised air is circulated throughout your home, these symptoms and any existing respiratory conditions are much more likely to be worsened. So, it makes sense to address the potential source of the symptoms to treat them best. In general, if you find yourself regularly seeking medical attention from your healthcare provider for the symptoms discussed here, it could most certainly be worth having your HVAC system and indoor air quality assessed by a professional and reputable HVAC services provider. Heating and air conditioning often play more of a role in respiratory health conditions than you may have previously ever considered.

Call an Expert

If you feel your respiratory issues could be caused by your HVAC system, it’s important to seek a remedy to the situation. Delay is likely to make things worse, and your health is simply too important to gamble with. A professional HVAC company such as ours can visit your home to determine the specific causes of your respiratory distress and work with you to develop a plan to eliminate them. Our skilled professionals have years of experience in solving indoor comfort issues, so you can trust us to handle all your indoor air comfort needs.

You may be surprised at how quickly your health improves when you’re able to address the direct source of the problem. Since 1972, we have been providing excellent service to our customers in Boise, ID, and the surrounding areas. We offer several indoor air services that could help, such as indoor air quality testing, duct replacement, air duct cleaning and repair, UV air sanitization, and whole-house air filtration system installation.

Our expert HVAC technicians can assist you with a host of other helpful services as well, including water heater repair and installation, thermostat installation, and AC refrigeration services. In addition, you can count on us for all your heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair and installation needs. Call Access Heating & Air Conditioning today for more information.


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