Your local climate is freezing cold in the winter and scorching hot in the summer. For this reason, you use your HVAC system all year long. However, excessive use of your HVAC system will cause these three problems that reduce your indoor air quality and negatively affect your respiratory system:
Cracked Furnace Exchanger
Your furnace's heat exchanger serves two purposes. While your furnace is active, your heat exchanger will become hot enough to heat the air being blown through your furnace. Additionally, while your burners are active, your heat exchanger will ventilate the carbon monoxide produced during the combustion process out of your home.
However, since your heat exchanger is a large, metal structure that experiences significant temperature fluctuations, it's highly susceptible to developing metal fatigue. When your heat exchanger becomes fatigued, the delicate areas of your heat exchanger (such as the angled manifolds and weld points) will become weak and eventually crack.
When your heat exchanger cracks, carbon monoxide (along with other exhaust fumes) will escape from your exchanger and contaminate your indoor air. When carbon monoxide reaches 70 ppm (parts per million) or higher, you and your household members will experience carbon monoxide poisoning—which causes symptoms such as headaches, nausea, loss of consciousness, and even death.
Dirty Air Filter & Blower
Regardless of how often you vacuum your carpets and dust your bookshelves, your air filter and blower assembly will become coated with a thick layer of airborne debris as you use your HVAC system. Although your air filter will retain the majority of the airborne debris that pollutes your indoor air, dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens will continue to circulate through your HVAC system while these components are dirty.
Moldy Air Ducts
Contrary to popular belief, your air ducts are filled with much more than just air. As your air conditioner cools your home throughout the spring and summer seasons, its evaporator coil will release condensation that humidifies your indoor air. This humidity will travel throughout your air ducts and create beads of water that remain your ducts.
When moisture is allowed to collect in your ducts, it will create a perfect environment for mold growth. Once mold begins to grow inside your ducts, it will rapidly spread throughout your ducts by means of airborne spores. Once these airborne spores are blown out of your ducts, they can enter your respiratory system and begin growing inside your lungs.
How You Can Prevent These Problems
Seasonal maintenance will prevent your HVAC system from developing a cracked heat exchanger, dirty components, and moldy air ducts.
Before the fall and winter seasons, have your HVAC technician perform an inspection of your heat exchanger. By removing your heat exchanger and carefully inspecting its delicate sections, your technician can identify and repair any signs of damage. However, if your exchanger is cracked beyond repair, then it will need to be replaced.
Your air filter and blower can be replaced and cleaned, respectively, every couple months to reduce the indoor allergens circulating throughout your home. You can replace your filter by opening your blower compartment and pulling your dirty filter out from the side of the compartment connected to your return duct. However, your blower must be disassembled and cleaned by your HVAC technician to avoid accidental damage from DIY maintenance.
Professional inspections at the beginning of the spring and summer seasons will eliminate the window of opportunity mold spores have to contaminate your indoor air. If mold or a large amount of condensation is found in your ducts, then hiring your heating and cooling technician to clean your ducts will solve your problem.