As the seasons change, so does the air inside your home. When winter begins, your air conditioner takes a rest from its hard work, and your furnace kicks on.
However, you might notice something when you turn up the thermostat: a strange smell has spread throughout your home. Nothing else has changed, so what could it be?
Believe it or not, your furnace is the cause behind stuffy indoor air. But why does this happen, and what can you do to solve it?
What Causes Stuffy Air?
The warm air from your furnace circulates throughout your home, then is recycled and recirculated again. Over time, this can make the air feel stuffy and take on odors. Think about it: that warm air is essentially trapped inside your home. No wonder it takes on a funky smell after a while!
There may be several causes behind your indoor air problem. Here are a few of the main ones:
- A lack of humidity. The heat from your furnace dries out the air in your home. Try purchasing a humidifier to offset this issue. It will replenish your air with the moisture it needs. However, you don’t want too much moisture in the air—that can cause musty smells and mold issues.
- Dirty air ducts. We don’t often think about the ductwork that disperses warm and cold air throughout our homes. Over the years, these ducts get clogged with dust, debris, and other contaminants. This can trigger allergies and create a stale odor in your home.
- A faulty furnace. If you suspect that your furnace is causing this issue, it might be time for an inspection by an HVAC technician.
How Do You Ventilate Your Home?
What can you do to eliminate odors and keep your indoor air fresh?
- Purchase a fan. Your air might need more circulation. Ceiling and/or floor fans can help with this. Set one up in your bedroom or living room to enjoy better circulation.
- Keep doors open. Isolating different areas of your home will only make this issue worse. Try to keep bedroom doors open to allow for more airflow.
- Clean the house. A buildup of dust might be contributing to a stale odor in your home. Roll up your sleeves, grab your cleaning supplies, and get down to it.
The air filters in your HVAC system might need a cleaning or a replacement altogether. They won’t be able to trap particles if the screens are clogged with dust.
- Improve your home’s insulation. Give your furnace a break by sealing any holes in your home. Bolstering the insulation in your attic or exterior walls will prevent warm air from escaping your home. In turn, your furnace won’t need to work as hard to heat the air.
- Have your HVAC system serviced. We’re all familiar with the symptoms of winter: dry skin, runny noses, and goosebumps whenever we step outside. But these issues can be alleviated by a furnace that’s running at its peak efficiency.