6 Causes Of Heater Headache And Best Solutions

An HVAC system should make the house comfortable to stay in. However, there are times when it makes you hate using it because of heater headache. A severe headache will ruin your day and make you spend some cash looking for medication. But what can cause such a problem whenever the HVAC system is on?

When you experience such a problem, it could be that the unit is producing dry air making you feel dehydrated. It could also be that the ac is spreading mold all over the house, making you have a headache. Read on and find an in-depth explanation and more in this informative article.

Causes And Solutions of Heater Headache


The main job of the HVAC system is to control the airflow indoors. However, it at times doubles up as a humidifier. Working as a humidifier ensures it gets rid of moisture in the air, making the air remain dry. If the unit eliminates too much humidity, it will result in dry air.

When you breathe in dry air, your nasal cavity will dry too. You will, in this case, suffer from inflammation or irritation that are likely to lead to headaches as they’ll interfere with normal blood flow in your head.

In most cases, your HVAC system is likely to extract too much moisture if you allow it to run all through the day. This can be if it is an undersized unit that can’t meet the cooling demands of the house or if its evaporator is dirty. Additionally, such a problem can result from the low refrigerant level or leakage in the air duct.

It’s advisable to check any underlying issues to have your unit operate with ease to avoid such a problem. Have a digital thermometer to help you know when the humidity is high. Then hydrate to reduce the headache and thirst that might come from dry air.

But don’t forget to control the thermostat by setting it higher during the summer so that you don’t run the unit all through.

Excessive Noise

Although all ACs produce noise while working, some emit too much noise than others. So, if you’ve one that’s noisier, the chances of having a headache are more. This is also likely to happen if you allow the unit to run at night.

Some units also produce too much noise if it has issues. For example, a clogged system will have challenges cooling the house and will make noise as it struggles to work. The noise could also come from broken parts that hit each other as it cools the air indoors. Furthermore, it can result from a trapped object in the HVAC system.

The noise will affect your sleep, making you stay awake the better part of the night. It could also cause a headache if you’re hypersensitive to noise or you’ve migraines. You can replace the unit if you don’t want to suffer from continuous headaches. But don’t forget to check if there’s an underlying issue within the unit, like a trapped object, and solve it amicably.

Air Contaminants

Another reason why you could be experiencing headaches is because of air contaminants. When your house has pollutants like mold, you are at risk. If you run the AC, it will distribute it all over the place, interfering with the air quality indoors. These contaminants will get into your nerves and cause a headache.

Remember the unit should filter out dirt and dust while also eliminating heat and water. It will encourage mold growth when it’s incapable of doing so because of a spoilt filter, dirty duct, or AC. And as you know, mold is not safe for human beings’ health and can lead to serious complications.

Do regular maintenance to remove dirt on the unit. You can also install an ultraviolent germicidal lamp on your indoor unit to prevent mold growth.

Inability to Control the Indoor Temperatures

An HVAC unit should be able to control the temperatures in your house to a comfortable level for the occupants. However, there’s a time when it can’t do this resulting in too high or low temperatures indoors. This can be because of a spoilt coil, clogged filters, or an AC motor problem. It can also be an issue with the thermostat or refrigerant.

When it’s too cold or hot, the temperature can cause headaches making you suffer. Remember, low temperature will affect the normal blood flow as the blood vessels are constricted. In the end, you’ll suffer from continuous headaches.

Wrong HVAC System Installations

You may be suffering from headaches because of a wrong HVAC system installation. When this is the case, the furnace will produce carbon monoxide into your house. If you inhale this gas, you’ll have a headache as it results in a drop in oxygen levels in the blood.

With time this can lead to serious complications like seizures, drowsiness, or even death. Whenever you feel the problem is from carbon monoxide, get out of the house and call for help from others. But ensure you install your HVAC system well and do regular maintenance and checkup. If possible, work with a technician to help connect the furnace.

Facing the Airflow Directly

Some people experience headaches whenever the unit is running because they sit where there’s direct airflow. Sitting next to the air vents might seem beneficial, especially during the warmer days as you get enough cool air supply.

However, it might cause you problems like a headache. But you can stop this by changing your seating position whenever the unit is on. Sit away from the air vents where you’ll not receive direct airflow. Alternatively, you can change the thermostat settings to a lower temperature. Note that too much cold air in the blood will affect the blood flow making your body not have enough fluid supply resulting in a headache.

FAQs about Heat Headache

How long does a heat headache last?

A typical heat headache lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. There are, however, people who have suffered chronic headaches for years due to living in hot climates. These chronic headaches are diagnosed as having a condition called “heat-provoked headache.”
Heat-provoked headaches are usually diagnosed by differentiating between the symptoms of a regular migraine and of a heat-provoked migraine.

What does a dehydration headache feel like?

A dehydration headache is characterized by pressure or throbbing pain on either side of the head accompanied by light sensitivity, heart palpitations, and irritability. Its symptoms are not unlike those of a migraine attack.

Is it OK to sleep with a heater on?

Sleeping with a heater on is not recommended for environmental and health reasons. When sleeping, you need to keep your body at an optimal temperature in order to stay asleep and healthy, but when the air in the room is too warm or too cool, it can disrupt sleep. Sleeping with a heater on can produce microclimates that promote mold and fungus growth and lead to respiratory problems. Additionally, the heater needs electricity which may increase its carbon footprint and affect your monthly utility bill.

Do electric heaters deplete oxygen?

No, the electric heater will not deplete oxygen. But the heat generated by the heaters may have an indirect effect on the atmosphere. Studies have shown that when ceramic heaters are in active use, they emit CO2 which is non-beneficial to the environment. CO2 has been linked to increased global warming, which can cause respiratory problems.

Can we use an electric heater in a closed room?

No, an electric heater should not be used in a closed room. A closed room may cause the heater to overheat and release dangerous levels of carbon monoxide into the air.

Which oil is used in the room heater?

The room heater uses a type of oil called kerosene. Kerosene is derived from crude oil which is heated up to create vapor that will be turned into liquid again when mixed with the air in the device. It is odorless and colorless, making it perfect for use in this situation because it will not leave an unwanted scent or color on your home’s walls.

Do electric heaters need ventilation?

Electric heaters do need ventilation, but it is not necessary to have a window open when the heater is being used. The reason for this is that when warm air from the heater rises and hits a cold surface it will condense and turn into water particles. This condensed water vapor might build up in small rooms and cause mold to form on surfaces where it can proliferate.

Are heaters bad for your skin?

The heat from heaters may cause heat rash, erythema, and a variety of other skin conditions. Heat is a potential risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Excessive exposure to heat will also dehydrate the skin and can lead to dryness and cracking. Heaters produce infrared waves which have been found to contribute to skin cancer.

Can electric heaters cause shortness of breath?

Heaters can cause shortness of breath if they are emitting carbon monoxide. For this reason, it is recommended that people should avoid using electric heaters to warm up their homes.

Do electric heaters give off radiation?

No, electric heaters do not usually radiate. The modus operandi of the electric heater is to produce a flow of electrons that increases the temperature of the metal tube and its surroundings.

Why does using the heater in my car give me headaches?

When your car is first started, the heater uses the cold air from the outside to draw into the engine and then warm-up. It does this by blowing cold air through a heat exchanger filled with coolant and sending it back out at a higher temperature. This process also works to keep your cabin at a comfortable temperature until you reach your desired setting. However, for some people, this process creates air movement and turbulence which can cause motion sickness-type symptoms like headaches.

Can electric heaters cause brain damage?

Electronic heaters can cause brain damage. They produce electromagnetic waves that are absorbed by the tissue in the brain.

Final Thoughts

A heater headache because of a running HVAC system can make you stop using your unit. However, most of these problems are things you can easily correct and enjoy using your unit. If it’s because of the improper installation, call your technician to do it the right way. But if it’s from dry air, try and hydrate to keep away thirst and change the thermostat settings. Don’t forget to work on air impurities and sit away from direct airflow. Also, do regular unit maintenance and talk to your doctor to know more possible solutions.

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