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Can Central Heating Cause Health Problems?


Central heating is essential to keep our homes warm but could our trusted heating systems be causing or aggravating certain health conditions?

Radiators increase room temperature by heating the space which encourages dust particles to circulate in the air. However, without central heating our homes would be too cold which could lead to dampness and mould.

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Can central heating cause health problems?

Radiators are effective at heating up a room but they’re not great for respiratory health.

Radiators heat the air in a room and as the air warms up, it rises – this is a process known as convection, which makes the name ‘radiators’ slightly misleading. Convection causes the air to move which can circulate dust around the room.

If you do suffer with breathing problems, you might want to consider an alternative to radiators, such as infrared heating panels or underfloor heating.

Infrared heating panels

Rather than heating the air in a room, infrared heating panels directly warm up the people and objects within it. This process means that dust and mites won’t be circulating when you put the heating on. In fact, infrared heat offers a deeper heating sensation compared to convection heating which only warms the skin – so you’ll feel more comfortable.

Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating systems warm the air in a room through contact rather than heating the space like convection heating. Objects will then radiate the heat, sending it back out into the room should it be cooler than the object.

While high temperatures can be bad for your health as are cold rooms so it’s important to find a comfortable temperature. A recommended room temperature is between 18-21°C which will not only benefit your health but help to lower your energy bills too.

Can you be allergic to central heating?

While you can’t be allergic to central heating itself, radiators can have an indirect effect on your allergies. As we mentioned, dust settles on radiators which is then circulated around the room when they warm up. Breathing in those dust particles as they travel can potentially trigger allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Can central heating cause headaches?

A room that’s too hot can dry the room out and lead to dehydration and, as a result, headaches or even migraines.

A headache could also be the sign of a carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas produced by gas and oil boilers as they operate. As an odourless and colourless gas, it’s hard to know whether there is a leak, which is why it’s important to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted near your boiler. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Loss of consciousness

Is a cold house bad for your health?

To keep you healthy and well through the cold winter months, an effective heating system is vital. Without a way to heat your home you could end up with

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What is a healthy room temperature?

A healthy room temperature is between 18 and 21°C. Much higher or lower could put your health or the health of others at risk. Use the table below as a guideline for how to set your thermostat.

Room Temperature Advice
Less than 15°C Too cold and you should turn the central heating on to increase the temperature
18°C Recommended temperature during the night when you’re sleeping
19 – 21°C Recommended temperature during the day in rooms you will be spending time in
More than 24°C Too hot and could be putting young children or those with health conditions at risk

What is indoor air pollution?

The effects of air pollution on our planet has become daily news. What we don’t hear so much about is indoor air pollution.

We spend the vast majority of our lives indoors so it’s important to ensure the air in our homes is as clean as possible. Otherwise, air pollutants in our homes could lead to breathing problems.

These indoor air pollutants can come from a number of sources:

  • Home heating systems that burn coal or wood
  • Cooking appliances
  • Poor ventilation
  • Cleaning products
  • Damp and mould

Fortunately, something can be done to tackle all of the above. And we’re going to focus on how central heating systems can reduce a home’s air quality.

A much safer way to heat your home would be with a modern boiler that’s fitted with a flue, which releases harmful gases away from the home and out into the atmosphere.

Alternatively, you could turn to a renewable heating system, such as an air source heat pump or ground source heat pump, which don’t create any emissions whatsoever.

So, is central heating good for your health?

Central heating is a vital part of any property. Without it, your home will be cold which could lead to dampness and mould. And both of these can lead to mild or serious health conditions.

Here are some tips to get the best out of your heating system:

  • Set your central heating to come on slightly before you arrive home
  • Shut doors between rooms to prevent draughts
  • Invest in a smart thermostat to give you greater control of your central heating system
  • Slot a foil-covered card behind the radiators to reflect heat emitted from the back of the radiator into the room rather than it

Find out 11 Ways to Make a Cold House Warm.

Is it time to replace your boiler?

Old boilers that were installed more than 10-15 years ago run the risk of breaking down – potentially leaving your home without heating and hot water. If you’ve noticed that your boiler isn’t reliable as it once was or your energy bills have been on the rise then now would be a good time to have it replaced.

With Boiler Guide, you can get free boiler replacement quotes from fully-qualified heating engineers in your area. Comparing multiple quotes will give you the greatest confidence that you’re being charged the fairest and most competitive price.

Plus, once the new boiler has been installed, your home will once again be a safe and comfortable place to live. And as an added bonus, the high efficiency of modern boilers could see your energy bills drop.

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