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Home heating and your health

For the most of us, our home is our sanctuary, our safe place, our refuge from the world outside. So, naturally we like to make it as comfortable as possible – after all, we intend to spend a lot of time there. So we’ll invest in the furnishings, make improvements and alterations where we can and of course – we’ll heat it, and make it nice and cosy. But did you ever stop and think about the relationship between home heating and your health? The two are inextricably linked, and here’s how…

Cold homes

When the weather gets colder and we find ourselves in the throes of winter, cold homes and the impact on our health inevitably makes its way into the news. Not heating our homes properly when it gets cold can lead to all sorts of problems – damp and mould being the key issues. These factors can impact dramatically on our health, with issues like respiratory illnesses, circulation problems, mental health stress and even increased mortality rates. Feeling run down like this over prolonged periods of time can also make it harder to recover from colds and flu, and the people most affected by this are the elderly, young children and people with long term illnesses. It’s essential that you heat your home adequately to maintain the internal temperature and reduce the risks of damp and mould, and of course to keep your core body temperature steady, so always make sure you have enough home heating oil in your tank to see you through any predicted bad weather spells.

Warm homes

Of course, homes that are extremely warm suffer from problems too. Moving from one extreme to the other, in the summer during a heatwave it can be just as dangerous to live in an excessively warm home, with risk factors including dehydration and heart and breathing problems being made worse. It doesn’t even have to be a heatwave for a warm home to impact negatively on your health – in fact, many common health issues can be attributed to our habit of turning up the heat without thinking. These issues include disturbed sleep and subsequent fatigue, and warmer temperatures also make for perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and mould to grow quickly which may contribute to worsening asthma symptoms.

Maintaining healthy environments at home

The key to home heating and your health is balance – everything in moderation and avoiding extremes at either end. Our homes should be maintained at a temperature between 18oC – 21oC for optimal comfort and healthy conditions. It’s also important to ensure that there is adequate ventilation, to allow condensation and moisture to escape, and to let fresh air in. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees to cope with seasonal temperature fluctuations but remember to change it back again – after all, just a few degrees difference can have a huge impact on your home heating oil usage.