Can Your AC Make You Sick?

Did you know that a poorly maintained AC system can cause you to be sick?

Understanding Indoor Air Quality and How to Prevent It

Air conditioning is a modern convenience that has revolutionized indoor comfort, especially during hot and humid weather. However, as with any technology, improper use or maintenance of your air conditioning system can lead to potential health issues. What are the factors that can make AC systems a source of discomfort and illness and what are the practical tips on how to prevent such problems?

Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within buildings and structures. When your AC system is not adequately maintained or if it is improperly installed, it can lead to a decline in IAQ, which can result in various health issues. Dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, and other allergens can accumulate within your air conditioning unit and ducts, leading to respiratory problems and allergic reactions in household members.

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe a situation in which members of a building experience acute health effects due to spending time inside it. These health issues often occur when the building's ventilation system is flawed, leading to a buildup of contaminants and poor IAQ. AC systems, if not adequately maintained, can contribute to SBS by circulating pollutants and allergens throughout the indoor environment.

Legionnaires' Disease

In rare cases, poorly maintained air conditioning systems can become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria like Legionella. Legionella can cause Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia. Although it is not common, it is essential to recognize the potential risks and take necessary precautions.

Preventing AC-Related Health Issues:

Regular Maintenance

Schedule regular maintenance for your air conditioning system with a professional technician. Routine inspections, cleaning, and filter replacements will ensure that the system operates efficiently and does not become a source of pollutants.

Clean or Replace Filters

Filters trap dust, pollen, and other particles, preventing them from circulating in your living space. Clean or replace air filters as recommended by the manufacturer to maintain good IAQ.

Maintain Proper Humidity Levels

Excessive humidity can foster mold growth, while low humidity can lead to dry skin and respiratory issues. Invest in a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels and use a dehumidifier if necessary.

Keep Ductwork Clean

Ducts can accumulate dust and debris, which, when circulated, can reduce IAQ. Hire professionals to inspect and clean your ductwork regularly.

Ventilate Your Home

Allow fresh air to circulate through your home by opening windows and using exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms. Ventilation helps remove indoor pollutants and improves IAQ. You can also improve your air quality and ventilate your home by installing a whole house fan. For more information about whole house fans, check out our page here.

Avoid Smoking Indoors

Cigarette smoke is a significant contributor to indoor air pollution. Avoid smoking indoors to maintain a healthier living environment.

Use Air Purifiers

Consider investing in high-quality air purifiers to supplement your AC system. Air purifiers with HEPA filters can capture even tiny particles, providing cleaner air. An example of IAQ devices is an HVAC UV light that sanitizes the air as it circulates throughout your home. An HVAC UV light not only help clean your indoor air, but it also purifies it.

While air conditioning systems offer much-needed comfort during hot weather, neglecting their maintenance can lead to health problems caused by poor indoor air quality. By following the tips mentioned above, installing all possible home upgrades like a whole house fan and IAQ devices, and staying proactive in maintaining your AC system, you can ensure that it remains an asset for your comfort rather than a source of discomfort and illness. Prioritize the health of your indoor environment, and you'll enjoy the benefits of a well-functioning AC system without compromising your well-being.

For more information to learn how you can improve your air quality, visit our pages on heating and cooling or whole house fans, call to make an appointment at 1-800-818-4298.