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Did you know that your HVAC system affects your indoor air quality? Most of the time, your heating and cooling system benefits your home’s air quality and removes airborne particles, but clogged ductwork and other issues can negatively affect the air you breathe. Explore a few ways that your HVAC system may be affecting the indoor air quality in your Pontiac, Illinois, home.

Leaky Ducts Lead to Infiltration

Not only does leaky ductwork reduce your system’s efficiency, but it can also result in unwanted animals creeping into your home. Rodents and possums can often crawl through disconnected return ducts and die in the crawl space. Once these animals get stuck in the ductwork, any air passing over the remains or droppings gets distributed throughout the home. Not even the best HVAC system can filter out the smell.

While large animals dying in your ductwork is an extreme case, you have plenty of smaller contaminants to worry about with leaky ducts. Viruses, bacteria, pet dander, pollen, dirt, dust mites, bio-aerosols, pollution, and other microorganisms can work their way into the system, polluting your indoor air and causing respiratory issues and allergic reactions.

Duct Leaks Can Cause Back-drafting

Back-drafting is a dangerous situation in which combustion gases from fuel-fired appliances, such as furnaces and water heaters, re-enter the house. The phenomenon occurs when low indoor air pressure compromises the pressure differential that makes releasing combustion gases possible. Unfortunately, back-drafting can result in carbon monoxide leaking into your home, a potentially deadly situation.

Duct systems can contribute to back-drafting when leaks create negative pressure. In some cases, simply closing a bedroom door is enough to cause a pressure imbalance within the house. Having your ducts checked regularly and installing a carbon monoxide detector can help keep your family safe and healthy.

System Inefficiency Can Result in Humidity Issues

Your HVAC system is designed to regulate humidity to a point. Air conditioners filter out moisture from the air to help keep your home cool, but when the system is outdated, you may experience too much or too little humidity.

Too much moisture in the air can make your home feel stuffy and hotter than it actually is. Humidity will also promote the growth of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other biological growth. Too little moisture can cause respiratory problems and allergies, itchy skin, sore throats, and static electricity.

If you notice a problem with humidity control in your home, consider adding a whole-home dehumidifier to address the problem.

Lack of Ventilation Results in Poor Airflow

A common problem in newer homes is poor airflow. Newer home construction tends to be tightly sealed in such a way that conserves energy in the home but doesn’t allow for much ventilation. Indoor air can get stagnant and contaminants that work their way indoors have no way of getting out again. Even if you have the most energy-efficient HVAC system on the market, your home needs proper ventilation to maintain healthy airflow.

Adding a new ventilation system will replace stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air.

Sealed Ducts Redistribute Odors and Chemical Vapors

You want to have properly sealed ductwork, but what happens when the system recirculates unhealthy air from one room to another? Your HVAC system can’t purify pet odors, perfumes, cooking fumes, paints, and chemical vapors without help, which is where a whole-home air cleaner or purifier can help. Whole-home purification units attach to the air handler or furnace where they remove contaminants before they have a chance to recirculate throughout the home. The result is fresh, breathable air without all of the harmful particles present.

If you’re ready to take your HVAC system to the next level and improve its overall performance, consider investing in indoor air quality products from Popejoy Plumbing, Heating, Electric. Contact one of our friendly representatives at 815-246-3291 to schedule your next HVAC system service maintenance visit, and don’t forget to speak with one of our technicians about your indoor air quality options. Your family can enjoy improved health and a cleaner indoor environment for years to come.

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