Healthy Homes

Experts say radiant heating is better for alleviating allergies

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 09:18

If you're someone who suffers from allergies, you know that going outside in spring or fall can sometimes be a major hassle. Whether you experience sneezing, a sore throat or watery eyes, it's sometimes hard to avoid the elements in nature that make you feel crummy. However, if you're experiencing these symptoms in winter from merely spending time inside your house, you may have another problem at hand, and it could very well stem from your heating system.An unhealthy home
According to Penn Medicine, studies by the American Lung Association have revealed that an overwhelming 87 percent of Americans are unaware that the air inside the majority of their homes is actually more polluted than the air outside. It's not surprising, then, that the source noted cases of asthma have increased 60 percent in the past 20 years. This isn't just a problem for those with severe allergies or asthma, either. Indoor air quality is a significant aspect of overall respiratory health for any human being. If you have children at home with developing organs, this is a crucial consideration.So how do you avoid these allergy symptoms in your house? Of course, you'll need to make sure the air in your home is as clean as possible. To do this, you must identify any irritating substances and minimize their presence. Penn Medicine reported that the three major types include biological allergens, such as pollen, dust mites and mold spores, tobacco smoke and other combustion by-products and gases from wood or other sources, such as formaldehyde.The problem with a standard forced-air heating and cooling system is that it doesn't usually include a ventilation system. A register is simply pulling air from one part of your home and recycling it, releasing it as warmed or cool air out of another grate. Since the system isn't bringing any fresh air from outside, it's just stirring up the mold, pet dander and other irritants that are floating around your home. Even those forced air heating systems that do pull in fresh air bring pollen and other external allergens with them. Another drawback to forced air systems is that bacteria can live inside the ductwork, particularly if it is also used for cooling purposes. Cooling systems produce moisture inside the ducts, which provides a breeding ground for bacteria growth and then spreads to the air.A superior alternative
So what is the answer? In an interview with NBC News, Dr. Adrian Casillas, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles advised trading out your forced air system for a healthier option."In the long run, a radiant heat system is probably better," he told the source.Radiant heating warms your home with water, which is passed through the piping underneath your floor. Because this kind of system has no fans, blowers or drafts, it does not not circulate any dust particles or other airborne allergens throughout your home. In fact, European research has found that dust mite populations can be reduced up to 90 percent with radiant heating. The result? Improved allergy symptoms, lower medical bills and an overall more comfortable living space.