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Yes, Your HVAC Can Make You Sick

When was the last time you checked the inside of your Alaska HVAC system?

If it’s been longer than a year, your family could be exposed to otherwise preventable illnesses. Just like your health or your New Years’ resolutions, your HVAC system needs yearly maintenance.

Part of that maintenance is making sure everything’s in working order, but an increasingly more important part is preventative maintenance—including replacing air filters and cleaning out your air ducts.

Without this annual check-up, your HVAC system could be making you sick.

How can HVAC systems make us sick?

Let’s be clear: HVAC systems themselves don’t make you sick. A clean, well-maintained system will work efficiently and effectively. However, with HVAC systems being the “bloodline” to your home’s cleanliness, they can have a profound hand in making you sick.

Think about it like this: VAC systems are one of the only parts of your house that bring outside stuff into the rest of your home. They have access across your entire home. If that system is compromised, so is your health. A compromised residential or commercial building is called “sick building syndrome.” Unfortunately, it’s a common diagnosis in buildings that don’t properly maintain their HVAC systems.

The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that roughly 30% of homes are “sick” to some degree, and residents hardly realize. As world-class providers of HVAC systems and maintenance, our work is dedicated to our community’s health and happiness. That’s why we always recommend taking a proactive, preventative approach to your HVAC maintenance—and do away with a problem before it has a chance to grow.

Does annual maintenance make a difference?

Absolutely! As we explained above, it’s not your job as a responsible homeowner to know everything about your Alaska HVAC system. It’s your responsibility to call the professionals when you think it’s time. Maintenance, even just once a year, can significantly improve your system’s operation and health.

Instead of worrying about a clogged, unclean HVAC system, know that your system is clean and working. It could save you both concern and money on your utility bills.

Five ways to tell if your HVAC is making you sick

With all that said, how do you know when it’s the right time to call the professionals?

First of all, we recommend not waiting until you know something’s wrong. Like any infestation, once you see that your home’s compromised, it’s already been there for too long. However, if you’re unsure if your HVAC is making you sick, here are the top five ways we identify it in our routine inspections.

#1: Breathing problems

Naturally, an unclean HVAC system will affect your ability to breathe easily. It’s your HVAC system’s role to improve the air quality that you breathe within your home. And with everything going on in the world today, the added concern isn’t a wrong measure to take up. Air purifiers, masks, and clean air ducts all work towards the same purpose: To protect you and your family from unhealthy bacteria, particles, and pathogens. If you notice that you’re breathing fine when you go outside, but not when you get home, it’s time to consider giving us a call.

#2: Headaches

We understand: there are lots of reasons to have headaches these days. Between owning your own home, having a family, and trying to juggle working remotely in between all of that, it isn’t easy to differentiate a stress headache from a sick headache. The headaches we’re talking about are similar to the breathing problems we mentioned above, which only happen at home and seem to disappear once you leave.

As Alaskans, the reality is that we live in a wet climate between our mountains, forests, and snow. That moisture can become trapped in your HVAC system, becoming a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and even mold, causing headaches. If you’ve been noticing more frequent headaches as the summer grows colder, it might be time to give us a call to discuss your maintenance options.

#3: Itchy, watery eyes

A significant problem with a sick home is that many of the symptoms emulate allergies. And just like allergies, they can be frustrating to deal with, and even harder to heal. When it’s hard to differentiate symptoms, it’s essential to be mindful of when your symptoms occur. Your HVAC system is full of entrances and exits for air, bacteria, and dust to make their way in and out. If holes or leaks compromise that system, then your whole house is at risk.

The best solution for itchy eyes is to get a professional to inspect your duct system’s delicate inner workings. We check all entrances, exits, and common moisture areas for holes, gaps, and leaks—to ensure that your HVAC system isn’t just working, but that it’s safe.

#4: Runny noses

Air quality can be a tricky balance to master. If your air is too humid, mold will grow. But if it’s too dry, your nose runs. So, how can you tell if it’s you or your home that’s sick?

Try this:

  1. Turn down the air conditioner or heater blowing into your home.
  2. Run a humidifier to moisten the air.
  3. After leaving the humidifier on for a day (or overnight), your nose should be back to a happy medium.

If it’s not, it’s time to schedule an inspection for your sick home.

#5: Skin irritation

Alaska’s harsh weather is known to do a number on our skin if we don’t prepare for it, but what if your HVAC system is making it worse than it needs to be? You could do everything right. You could drink 8 cups of water per day, keep your environment crisp and clean, and regularly wash your bedsheets, yet your skin could still be irritated, red, and dry. When you feel you’ve done everything else for your skin possible, it’s time to take a look at your HVAC system.

Skin irritation is usually a multi-symptom problem. The best way to know if it’s your HVAC is to give us a call to do our routine inspection.

Conclusion

It isn’t always easy to differentiate whether your home is making you sick or merely the weather. As we move into winter, it should become abundantly more apparent—if you’re experiencing allergy-like symptoms in September, it’s time to give us a call.

And even if you’re not, it’s better to be safe than sorry. When was the last time you had your HVAC system thoroughly inspected? Suppose it’s been longer than a year. In that case, it’s time to consider an appointment before we hunker down for hibernation, or your home becomes sick.

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