bad for sinuses

Is Keeping the Central Heating on at Night Bad for My Sinuses?

It’s comforting to be inside a warm home when the weather turns cold. That is why you ensure that your heating system is properly maintained before winter. Central heating offers plenty of benefits on chilly days and nights. It is all right to have a warm home, but when the rooms become airless, dry and hot, the situation places your health at risk. It brings us to a pressing question, “can a dry house cause sinus problems?”

The answer to the question is YES! We’ll talk about it lengthily before we tackle the ways on how to avoid dry air in home.

Can a dry house cause sinus problems?

Humans’ need for warmth differs. There are people who are fine with higher temperature while others want the temperature to be a bit lower even if it is cold outside. Some like the idea of snuggling under a blanket, while some like to wear thick clothing while sitting in front of a fire.

The blast of dry, warm air from your heating system makes you snuggly warm when the night is chilly. However, it also removes humidity inside your home, which is bad for your sinuses. As homeowners crank up the heat, the more they would have throat and nasal issues.

Doctors say that patients without allergies could start having throat and nasal problems due to lack of humidity. Their throats would be a bit sore and they’ll feel dry when they wake up. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that during winter, the humidity in homes should be about 25% to 40%.

A home with less than 10% humidity can worsen the snoring problems of occupants. Some people also suffer from bloody noses and sore throats.

Central heating keeps the entire house warm although there are some reasons why you feel ill when the central heating in turned on for a long time.

Scientifically, the air becomes dry when the weather is cold. The colder it gets, the more moisture leaves the air through condensation. Outside, the colder air could be heated and still hold moisture because of the moist earth, the grass, trees and sunlight.

But inside a house, there are limited, if any sources of moisture during the colder months. The cold air that enters your home has very little humidity. When you turn up the heat to dispel the cold, the moisture from the air evaporates. The central heating system comes in bursts, so whatever moisture is available dissipates before the dry and heated air reaches your still moist sinuses. Whatever moisture is left on your sinuses evaporates as you breathe. This explains why a dry house can cause sinus problems.

Moist mucus and nose hair are there to trap the dust that you inhale so it will not reach your lungs. However, when the heated and dry air is inhaled, it will harden the mucus and cilia (small hairs lining the sinuses and nose), making your nasal passages parched. Dry and thick mucus cause sinus discomfort. You are likely to feel pain in your cheeks. In some cases bleeding can occur.

If the central heating is not properly maintained, cranking up the thermostat will circulate dust, allergens and pollens that can make your sinuses swell. These pollutants can also irritate your airways. Dry and cold air can cause the narrowing of breathing passages, which can lead to an asthma attack.

Therefore, leaving a heater on during the day and at night will definitely be bad as a dry house can cause sinus problems, especially if you remain cooped up inside your home the entire day.


Even if a dry house can cause sinus problems, there are also some solutions to ensure that you’ll have moist air even if you have the heater on.

1. Invest in house plants. Plants release water through their leaves. They will help moisturize the air inside your house. Check with your local nursery to know which plants will thrive beautifully indoors.

2. Keep the temperature even for all rooms. It will help everyone, particularly those with heart problems. The ideal temperature is about 18 °C or 64.4 °F.

3. Lessen your worry that your dry house can cause sinus problems for you and your family by investing in humidifiers. If your house becomes excessively dry when you have to use your central heating, not only your sinuses will be affected. Your lungs’ surface membranes will dry a little as well, which promotes respiratory infections. Getting a humidifier will help increase a room’s moisture level. You can either get a central humidifier or install a portable one in each room that you frequently use.

4. Sip water frequently during the day. This will help you moisturize internally, which can help your bring some moisture to your sinuses.

5. Open your windows occasionally even during winter to help ventilate your home.

6. Place wet towels on the radiators. It can help disperse some moisture into the air to improve indoor humidity. You can also put a bowl of water under the radiator to humidify the room.

7. When the air is dry, your eyes also tend to feel gritty. Your eyes and your sinuses are related, so when you sinuses are dry you’ll feel discomfort in your eyes as well. Moisturize your eyes by applying a hot compress on your eyes. This heats up the areas around your eyes, helping the oil glands to function better by helping the production of a natural film of tears, which is made up of oil, mucus and water.

8. Avoid using air fresheners as this can aggravate the situation. If members of your family suffer from migraine, the strong scent can trigger a migraine attack. In some cases, the scent is harmful to asthma sufferers.

9. Ensure that your heater is properly maintained. A properly working heater will keep the air inside your home free from dust, allergens, pollens and other debris that contaminate the air.

10. For the health, not only of your sinuses but your entire body, it is important that you do not try to get warm too quickly. If you’re coming outside to not head to the radiator to warm your hands and feet faster. The action can cause your blood vessels to have temporary spasm, which can block the flow of blood to your extremities. You’ll notice that your cold hands turn white, then blue before eventually turning red, which is quite painful. Wear a pair of gloves so your hands will warm up gradually.

You’ve learned how keeping a heater on affects your sinuses. Likewise you now know some of the more general solutions you can do if a dry house causes sinus problems. You can also drink plenty of fluids. One other thing is to minimize pollutants from circulating around your home when the central heating is on. Contact Fischer Heating to have your central heating vacuumed and maintained regularly. You can get in touch with Fischer Heating at 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050 to get a trained and licensed HVAC technician look over your heating system.

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