4 Ways Your HVAC System Can Impact Your Health

If you’re noticing an increase in health symptoms when you’re in your Houston, Texas, home, your HVAC system could be to blame. This may come as a surprise, but without regular maintenance and tune-ups, you could have undetected issues that are leading to poor indoor air quality, allergic symptoms, and other health problems. Stay healthy by being aware of these potential health problems due to your HVAC system and how to combat them.

Dirty Ducts

As your furnace or air conditioning system runs, it pulls air from the house and moves it through the ducts to be heated or cooled. From there, the air moves from the unit back through the ducts, where it can be pushed back through the vents to maintain a comfortable temperature in every room of the home. Air can recirculate several times over the course of a day, so any contaminants can move through the ducts and into your home as well. Dirty ducts are a common problem among homeowners since debris settles within them.

Pet hair, dander, pollen, dirt, and other contaminants accumulate in the ducts over time, which can slow down airflow and cause the quality of the air you breathe to drop. Among those with allergies and existing breathing conditions, the symptoms can become a lot worse, including headaches, congestion, breathing problems, sore throats, and eye irritation. Having the ducts professionally cleaned regularly will help reduce the health risks and ensure that the air can flow smoothly throughout the system.

Clogged Filter

Your HVAC system also contains a filter that prevents some of the contaminants from entering the ducts or settling in the unit. Without regular filter changes, this component will become overloaded with dust and debris, which means it won’t be able to do its job. Make sure to set a reminder for yourself to swap out the filter at least every few months. Some high-efficiency HVAC systems use larger filters that can last up to six months, but make sure to check with the manufacturer to know how often you should replace the filter.

Filters are available in various ratings, which indicate the size of particles that can be filtered out. If you have anyone in your home who suffers from allergies or other health problems, you may want to choose a filter with a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. A higher number rating indicates the ability to remove smaller particles from the air.


Another issue that can cause health problems is a leak in your HVAC system. Many furnaces use natural gas or oil to provide heat, so a leak could be dangerous to the health of you and your family. Carbon monoxide is very dangerous and can lead to death. If you have a furnace that uses oil or gas, and you experience any flu-like symptoms, open the windows, leave your home immediately and call a professional. Your symptoms will disappear when you breath fresh air.

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Poor indoor air quality also referred to as sick building syndrome, is a growing problem across the nation. People are spending more time indoors, so they’re breathing air that has moved through the HVAC system several times. If your system isn’t properly cleaned and maintained, the air coming through the vents could be polluted. The symptoms of poor indoor air quality include headaches, fatigue, congestion, and trouble breathing.

Using certain products and devices can help improve the quality of the air you breathe, such as an air purifier or ventilator. Any biological growth in the ducts or system can also lead to spores in the air. Making sure your ducts are clean and your HVAC system is well maintained will also reduce the risk of poor indoor air quality, keeping you and your family healthy.

At Davis Air Conditioning & Heating, we offer a variety of HVAC and indoor air quality solutions that can help you stay healthier, so contact us at 888-710-5530.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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