"With the onset of winter, many Americans find themselves turning up their heating systems to stay cozy. Unfortunately, this may not actually be helping, and may actually be hindering, our efforts to stay comfortable through the season. Many of the ails that make us so uncomfortable in the winter months, things like cold feet, dry, cracked skin, and irritated sinuses, are actually our own fault. Most homes in the United States rely on forced air heating systems to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature, and these heating systems can actually exacerbate many of the discomforts we associate with wintertime.
Forced air heating systems work by heating air with a furnace and pumping it through a duct system where it comes out of vents and filters through the house. Unfortunately, these heating systems also dry out the air that they circulate, which causes mucus membranes like our sinuses to be dry and irritated and can chap our lips and hands. They have also proven to be very inefficient at maintaining a constant ambient temperature in a room, because they rely on heated gasses, which as we all learned in elementary school, tend to rise. This means that, while the air around face level might be a comfortable 70 degree Fahrenheit, the air down at the floor may be as cold as 50 degrees, and as high as 100 degrees near the ceiling. This leads to cold feet and a lot of wasted energy."