Indoor Air Quality: The Benefits of Running the Furnace Fan in Summer

As summer rolls around, many homeowners shift their focus from heating to cooling, bidding farewell to their furnace until the chill of autumn returns. However, there’s a hidden gem within your HVAC system that can significantly improve your indoor air quality during the warmer months – your furnace fan. In this post, we’ll explore the often-overlooked benefits of running your furnace fan in the summer and how it can positively impact your health and comfort.

Enhancing Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is crucial in maintaining a healthy home environment, particularly for individuals with respiratory issues like COPD, asthma, or reactive airways. During the summer, when windows and doors are either wide open to keep air flowing in the evenings or closed to keep the cool air indoors, pollutants such as dust, pollen, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can accumulate, leading to poor IAQ. Running your furnace fan helps circulate and filter the air, reducing the concentration of these harmful particles and promoting a fresher, cleaner indoor atmosphere. This is where my past post on MERV ratings applies, loosely summarized the higher the rating the higher the filtration (please read the complete post to learn more).

Combating Wildfire Smoke and PM 2.5

In regions prone to wildfires, like those of us in the West Kootenays, the threat of smoke and its associated health risks is of significant concern. Smoke consists of chemicals and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which can penetrate deep into the lungs, exacerbating respiratory conditions and posing risks to lung and overall health. By running your furnace fan with a quality filter, you can effectively capture and remove particles from the air, providing relief from the impacts of forest fires on indoor air quality.

Protecting Respiratory Health

For individuals with respiratory conditions like COPD, asthma, or reactive airways, maintaining optimal indoor air quality is paramount for managing symptoms and minimizing triggers. By continuously circulating and filtering the air, your furnace fan helps remove potential irritants and allergens, creating a safer and more comfortable environment for those with compromised lung health.

Additional Health Benefits

Smoke affects more than just our lung health. With chronic exposure to smoke, our body is under cardiovascular strain as well. Carbon monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, can be lethal at high levels and poses serious health risks even at low levels. It binds to the same receptor sites as oxygen in the blood, which can lead to thick, sludge-like blood, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This risk is higher for individuals who smoke tobacco or other substances.

Installing a G Wire for Thermostat Control

To utilize your furnace fan independently of heating or cooling cycles, you may need to add a G wire to your thermostat. While this task may seem daunting, it can be accomplished with basic DIY skills, patience, and a little guidance. By connecting the G wire from your thermostat to your furnace, you gain the ability to run the fan continuously or on a predetermined schedule, maximizing the benefits of filtration on indoor air quality.

Running your furnace fan in the summer is a simple yet effective strategy for improving indoor air quality, particularly in regions affected by wildfires or high levels of PM 2.5. By promoting cleaner, fresher air and protecting respiratory health, this often-overlooked concept offers tangible benefits for homeowners seeking a healthier living environment. Take proactive steps to enhance your IAQ and safeguard your family’s well-being by harnessing the power of your furnace fan year-round.