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After carefully tracking your heating needs and programming your thermostat, opening your windows might be the last thing on your mind, especially during a cold winter. Although this might seem counter-intuitive, letting fresh air into your home periodically can actually improve the functionality of your HVAC system, which is why many professionals recommend the practice.
Here are three ways that opening your windows occasionally can improve your home heating.
1. Removes Airborne Contaminants
As your family goes about their normal routine, they unintentionally release pollutants into your indoor air supply. Fumes from cooking, cleaning, and even spraying hairspray can collect in the air, which is why the EPA estimates that some pollutant levels are 2 to 5 times higher indoors than they are outside.
You can also find pollutants like skin cells, dust, pet dander, and even secondhand smoke indoors, increasing your risks of suffering with allergies or skin and eye irritation. Unfortunately, when your windows are all shut, these pollutants can go into your HVAC system, where they can coat ductwork, limit airflow, and make your system work harder than it needs to.
In addition to straining your heating, indoor air pollutants can also cause an issue called Sick Building Syndrome, or SBS. Commonly caused by issues like inadequate ventilation and indoor air pollution, SBS can cause health problems like coughing, chest tightness, fevers, muscle aches, and chills.
However, by periodically opening the windows, you can clear the air and prevent these types of issues. Opening windows allows for both fresh air exchanging and pollutants escaping outdoors where they can dissipate naturally — and the process is faster than most people think. In fact, experts explain that opening your windows for 15 to 20 minutes can be enough time to significantly improve your indoor air quality.
2. Gives Your System a Break
Because opening your windows during the winter can immediately impact your indoor air temperature, you should always switch off your heating as soon as you open windows. However, this temporary shutoff can actually be good for your HVAC system, since this gives your heating a break.
In addition to allowing moving components to cool down, opening windows and turning off your system also reduces the strain on your heating caused by moving air, removing humidity, and cycling on and off. Additionally, since cold winter air isn't capable of holding as much humidity, opening your windows also prevents problems like cloudy windows, mold growth, and bad smells.
3. Creates a Great Environment for Repairs
When your windows are open and your heating is temporarily off, you can more easily complete routine HVAC maintenance tasks, such as switching out air filters, checking your vents, and sealing joinery gaps and pinhole leaks. Since air won't blow through your vents, you can open air registers and vent chambers easily without dealing with air pressure problems.
Pinhole leaks and duct gaps are also easier to resolve when your heating is off since air won't blow aluminum tape out of place. After you have covered holes and gaps with tape and pressed the edges to ensure an adequate seal, you can close your windows and switch your system back on.
You may also do advanced repairs, such as replacing blower units, while the system is shut down, which is why opening your windows while professionals service your system is a great idea.
Whether you struggle with your indoor heating or cooling or you are concerned about your indoor air quality, our HVAC professionals can help. Here at Always Ready Repair, we are committed to providing comprehensive HVAC care, including installation, repair, and maintenance of furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, and even air quality equipment. Let us know how we can help today.