Every forced-air heating system, like a furnace, has a filter (or it should). When you run your heater, it first sucks in air from around the home and then heats it before blowing air back out to the rooms. Any dust or debris in the air could get sucked in and forced out with it, but the furnace helps to prevent this and protect your heater from damage that could be caused by that incoming debris.
However, this doesn’t mean that air coming out of the vents is always healthy. With winter comes viruses, bacteria, and other potential causes of illness that are airborne, so you should consider taking additional steps to protect your indoor air quality.
Here are our suggestions:
1. Change the Filter Regularly (& Most Importantly)
That means at least every 1-2 months. First and foremost, this needs to be done for the overall health of your heating system. A clogged filter won’t be able to pick up as much air, which means your system will become overworked leading to potential premature part failure.
Changing the filter is better for your air quality as well. When filters are not changed regularly bacteria, viruses, or mold spores lodged in the filter may have time to multiply and spread to your home. If you are using a reusable filter, to be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions to get the filter completely cleaned and dried before reinstalling it.
2. Upgrade the Filter
If people in your home who suffer from allergies, asthma, or any other breathing problems you may consider looking into upgrading to a filter that can eliminate more allergens and irritants from the air. This means looking for a filter with a MERV rating over 4, or switching to a HEPA filter. However, we advise you to make sure the filter you decide to purchase is compatible with the system installed in your home. The wrong filter is just as bad as running your system with no filter or a completely clogged filter. There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to replacement filters, you can take a look at our blog here to answer some questions you may already have.
3. Consider an Air Purifier
An air filter only eliminates contaminants up to a certain size, but the right air purifier can do much more. We highly recommend UV air purifiers to assist your heater. This is positioned near the furnace and emits a UV light that kills most of the bacteria and viruses passing through, so they are no longer harmful to breathe in.
4. Maintain Your Humidifier
In many parts of the country, humidifiers are common as cold, dry air adds to the agony of illnesses and makes it difficult to stay comfortable. While whole-house humidifiers are a great protection against this, they must be properly maintained. That humidity can make it more likely that mold or mildew can build up on the system, so be sure to clean out your humidifier according to humidifier instructions each year and replace the pad.
5. Keep the Heater Maintained
Poor air quality in the winter can come from many sources, some more dangerous than others. Carbon monoxide leaks and fire dangers are very real possibilities as you run your heater, so be sure to schedule an inspection each and every year. Regular maintenance is also extremely important. A well maintained system will run more efficiently and ultimately have a much longer life expectancy than a system that’s been neglected.
R. A. Styron’s heating specialists are here to help you stay warm this winter season. Scheduling your service call is easy and convenient through our website (where you can save $20.00 instantly) or over the phone at 757-420-5488.