Is Central Heating Bad For Your Health
Even though Central heating is an essential part of our homes and work places to keep us warm, it could cause or aggravate certain health conditions?
Without it, your homes would be cold which could lead to dampness and mould!
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.
Radiators heat the air in a room and as the air warms up, it rises – this is a process known as convection. Convection causes the air to move which can circulate dust around the room.
Whilst you can’t be allergic to central heating itself, radiators can have an indirect effect on your allergies.
Dust settles on radiators which then circulate around the room when they warm up, this is especially when we turn our heating back on when the weather starts turning colder.
Radiators are effective at heating up our rooms but not great for respiratory health!
Breathing in these dust particles as they travel can potentially trigger allergies such as asthma and other respiratory conditions such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Cystic fibrosis, Lung cancer, Mesothelioma, Pneumonia. Pulmonary fibrosis.
Dust is known to be harmful to human health as it contains small particles of debris and dead skin. The small size of dust means it can be inhaled and pose a potential immune reaction.
Be aware If you leave the dust on your radiators your heating will become less effective, which means that it will have to work harder, which costs more energy and more money!
Did you know?
Respiratory diseases are a major factor in the winter months faced by the NHS; most respiratory admissions are unavoidable and during the winter period these double in numbers.
The annual economic burden of asthma and COPD on the NHS in the UK is estimated at £3 billion and £1.9 billion respectively.
In total, all lung conditions (including lung cancer) directly cost the NHS in the UK £11billion annually.
People who are more likely to develop health problems from long term exposure to high levels of dust include:
- elderly people (65 years and over)
- people with pre-existing respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma, bronchitis), including smokers
- heart conditions (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Young Children and babies.
Anyone who regularly experiences shortness of breath or hayfever type symptoms from breathing dust should discuss with their doctor.
See - NHS England long term plans for Respiratory Diseases
Your lungs are sensitive to irritants in the air, especially if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition that makes it harder to breathe. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and inflamation in your lungs.
Covid19 – Dust
Since the outbreak of Covid19 back in In March 2020 we spent much more time in our homes when the lockdown began. Then we entered into the second wave in the 6 month Winter period, where the presence of Covid19 was again on the rise!
The affects of Covid19 has previously highlighted the risk and devastating impact poor indoor air quality can have on our health, lives and long term well being when inhaled in poorly ventilated indoor environments!
As School Children, College/University students and staff returned to their full-time education, they were immediately faced with unforeseen challenges!
The situation highlighted the risks, ease, and rapid spread of Covid-19 cases, due to exposure and inhalation within poor ventilated indoor environments, that can affect everyone of all ages with or without underlying health issues!
Some respiratory viruses, likely including COVID-19, can spread through the air on dust, fibers and other microscopic particles.
The Covid19 Virus could live in household dust for a considerable amount of time, which could help to forecast future outbreaks of the infection. Scientists have now found that Covid19 can live in household dust for up to a month.
See Daily Express – Covid lives in DUST for 'pretty long time'
Respiratory viruses traditionally spread through liquid droplets from speaking, coughing or sneezing and talking.
See – Flu Virus Can Travel on Dust. Can Coronavirus?
Keeping Your Home Dust Free!
By Regularly Cleaning around your home this will give dust, allergens, germs, and bacteria fewer places to hide. Dust can hide away in your bedding, carpets and upholstery if you don't clean up – Ooh and not forgetting the Radiator!
Cleaning on a regular basis will keep you and your family members healthy, NOT forgetting to clean between and behind your radiators, this is the one place that goes unnoticed and is one of the main areas that can accumulate lots of dirt and grime.
Always remember to open a window for ventilation!
If you don't clean, you or your family could develop some serious allergies and breathing issues. An explosion of dust mites can cause symptoms such as nasal congestion, cough, watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. Ignored symptoms can further lead to more serious conditions such as asthma etc.
It is recommended that to keep your home covid free is to clean with a common house household disinfectant that will kill the virus, as it is a very delicate structure and vulnerable in the environment. It is said that heat and detergents, including soap, can stop it from spreading.
Did you know?
Radiators could be become a fire risk if there is a build of of accumulated dust!
See Independent - Uncleaned radiators in hospital mental health unit posed as a fire risk.
Radiators can become dusty or have some pieces of debris caught within them that could lead to an unpleasant burning smell. Although this dust and debris will most likely not cause a fire, their scent can make it uncomfortable to stay in a room.
(Pictures above taken from a public house/restaurant area!)
We strongly recommend that when you are cleaning around your home make sure you check for the dust especially behind the radiator!
Cleanliness in Care Homes
In environments where immune systems are compromised, hygiene and cleaning are key areas that require the utmost attention.
Care homes and nursing homes can be crowded and involve close-contact between vulnerable individuals who have weak immune systems which can lead to an increased risk of infection transmission.
With some microorganisms surviving on surfaces for up to several months, the instance of contamination of environmental surfaces and individuals is high, this also includes the radiators!
For a healthy community environment cleaning or disinfection of environmental surfaces is essential!
High standards of cleanliness are important in health and adult social care premises where they are a key factor in helping to ensure that service users live with dignity and respect in pleasant surroundings.
The NHS National Patient Safety Agency – Cleanliness
This highlights the importance of infection prevention and control to ensure that people who use health and social care services receive safe and effective care.
The report emphasises that effective prevention and control of infection must be part of everyday practice and be applied consistently by everyone.
Achieving that level of consistency can be a challenge when dealing with the demands of the care and nursing environment. Therefore, the need for quick-yet thorough-cleaning is essential.
We have been working with Contour Heating for over 8 years supplying our Rotarad conversion kits for the health care sector - Contour Heating Products Limited.
See Contour Blog: Safe Radiators and guards for care nursing homes
Some chemicals in disinfectants and cleaning supplies are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are tiny droplets that can be inhaled through the nose and the mouth.
Once this happens the muscles in your airways can tighten and make it harder to breathe.
See below some cleaning chemicals that could make your symptoms worse:
- Chlorine bleach
- huydrogen Peroxide
These can create a kind of chemical dust that lingers in the air. While the fumes or smells from wipe-on cleaners may still cause problems with breathing they should be far less irritating to your lungs than the spray-on kind.
Non-Toxic Chemicals recommended for cleaning:
- Buy microfiber dusting cloths or dampen your regular cloths before dusting. This way these cloths collect dust instead of moving it around.
- Vinegar and water
- Juice of Fresh Lemons and water
Keele University Research
Rotarad are very proud to have been partnered with Keele University since 2018 working together on various projects, through the KRISP Scheme, aiming to identify the relationship between dust and common health problems, such as respiratory allergies and asthma.
Together we have identified that dust is becoming an ever-increasing problem, as the list of harmful cases to which dust has been linked is expanding. This is an issue we have found the majority of people are simply unaware of.
We wish to raise awareness of these issues and aspire to help introduce new commercial standards which will ultimately reduce the chances of our health being affected by dust.
It is a requirement within NHS facilities that all parts of a radiator must be visibly clean, and we would like to see this standard become adopted across all households and commercial buildings.
Our research with academic from the Faculty of Natural Sciences is currently ongoing, with more testing for contaminants being carried out on dust samples collected from the back of radiators in various premises.
We will publish more on this research very soon, watch this space!
Our Recommendations On How To Clean Radiators!
By Having full access behind your radiator this allows you to see and freely remove accumulated dust more efficiently and hygienically.
Picture 1 – Remove the excessive dust and grime with a vacuum
Picture 2 – Remove any stains and very fine particles of dust with a moist cloth.
Picture 3 – Shows the amount of dirt that has been cleaned from the radiator
See blog – How to clean dust from inside radiators.
It is now becoming evident that dust and dirt behind the radiators could be affecting your health, hospital environments have incorporated the Rotarad kits to reduce the risk of infections
Dust is obviously bad for you; Radiators heat the air which rises and spreads the dust around by cleaning behind them at regular intervals this can help alleviate the problem.
Cleaning behind your radiator has proven to manage the removal of dust mite allergens. By cleaning behind radiators in hospitals in the UK it has proven to manage allergens plus the infection control of the so-called superbug MRSA and C-diiffle.
See Contour Heating Blog - Deep Clean Hospital Radiators: Saving the Healthcare Sector Millions
By being able to access your radiators for periodic cleaning to remove the dust this could make a significant contribution to improving your health especially in your homes.
Rotarad can also be the ideal solution when it comes to decorating behind the radiator!
See Blog - How to Remove Wallpaper behind Radiators