What does it mean when the shifting seasons make your house feel stuffy and stale? It could be down to a single cause or a combination of things. Allergies often play a role, and low humidity doesn’t help; stuffiness could also demonstrate a need for furnace maintenance or duct cleaning.
Here are the potential reasons why your house feels stuffy in the fall, and what you can do to fix it.
Why Does My House Always Feel Stuffy?
Think about all changes in your home when the seasons transitions from summer to fall.
- You switch on your furnace for the first time in months.
- You close the windows and may keep them shut until spring.
- Outside, fall plants release pollen and leaves flutter to the ground.
The drop in outdoor temperature and increase in indoor temperature contributes to low humidity. Problems with the furnace and ventilation system, combined with closed windows, can result in staler air.
These issues can further exacerbate allergy symptoms, especially for people sensitive to ragweed.
We’ll discuss each of these factors below.
1. Low Humidity
Throughout the fall and winter months, the ideal indoor humidity level is between 40 and 60%. Constant fluctuations in humidity (or consistently low humidity) can damage wood furniture and fixtures, wallpaper, drywall, and other parts of your home.
The other unfortunate side effect of low humidity is its impact on the home’s inhabitants – us! When the air is dry, it dries out the membranes in our nasal passages, leaving us more vulnerable to the cold virus and other respiratory issues. That could be one of the reasons why your house feels stuffy in the fall.
Low humidity is a frequent complaint when a home has central heating, but no humidifier. Stuffiness is definitely a sign your home could use a humidifier.
2. Contaminated Air Ducts
When you turn on your furnace for the first time in months, it can stir up dust mites and other particles that were sitting in your air ducts. These contaminants can make the air feel staler, as well as trigger sneezing and other allergy symptoms.
If years have gone by without a proper duct cleaning, it could be affecting the air quality inside your home. Having the air ducts cleaned out can help alleviate the problem.
Be sure to hire a reliable HVAC company that uses proper duct cleaning equipment and takes appropriate steps to protect the inside of your home from dust. Ordinary vacuums can’t cut it.
3. Air Leaks
Another potential air duct problem. Ducts are the passageways that allow your furnace to pull stale air out of your living space and replace it with fresh, outdoor air. If there’s a leak, it prevents the furnace from delivering that air effectively, adding to that stuffy feeling.
4. Fall Allergies
Most people assume spring is “allergy season”, but many suffer from fall allergies as well.
The biggest culprit for fall allergy symptoms is ragweed, which begins releasing pollen when the nights cool in late August. According to WebMD, about 75% of people with spring allergies also react to ragweed pollen.
Mould is another fall allergy trigger. Mould loves to grow in piles of wet, fallen leaves, and mould spores can be carried indoors on your shoes.
To combat mould and pollen allergies, consider adding a high-MERV air filter to your HVAC system. We recommend consulting the manufacturer’s guidelines or speaking to an HVAC professional to make sure your system can handle the change in air flow.
5. Need for Furnace Maintenance
Your home might feel stuffy due to problems with the heating, cooling and ventilation system. If you haven’t had a furnace check-up this year, now is the perfect time to do it.
It’s always hard to find time to book a furnace maintenance appointment when the holiday season ramps up. Getting it done in the fall ensures your heating system is ready to go when the temperature really drops later this year.
We welcome you contact us for furnace maintenance in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Feel free to call us or fill out the contact form any time for a free quote on our services.
We also offer 24-hour emergency furnace service for urgent situations.