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Air conditioning feels refreshing during the hot summer months. Many people have trouble sleeping in hot, humid conditions. Respiratory illnesses, such as COPD, asthma and allergies,are frequently aggravated by high temperatures and humidity. Air conditioning is undeniably beneficial for people living in hot, humid climates. Unfortunately, air conditioning has drawbacks as well.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
Sinusitis and sinus headaches are characterized by pain and pressure in the face, neck and head. Sinuses are air-filled chambers in the skull. These chambers are connected to the nasal passageway by narrow holes in bone. Sinus headaches are usually caused by blocked and congested sinus cavities.
The lining of sinus cavities becomes inflamed and limits or prevents mucus drainage. Mucus builds up in the cavities, leading to pain and pressure. Bending down and quick head movements may worsen symptoms. Symptoms tend to be most severe in the morning after waking up because fluids collect in the sinus cavities overnight.
Allergies are a common cause of sinusitis. The filters in your air conditioner catch many types of allergens, including mold spores, dust mites, pet hair
and dander, and pollen. The filters can not function when they’re saturated with dust and particles.
A dirty filter lets your air conditioner circulate allergens through your home continuously. Consult local air conditioning service professionals to determine the most appropriate filter for your home and decide how often your filter should be changed.
Recommendations depend on the type of AC unit and extent of exposure to allergens. Filters should be changed more frequently in homes with smoke in the air, high concentrations of pollen, or multiple pets. Homes located near roadways and other sources of air pollution may also require more frequent filter replacement.
Air conditioners can also help avoid allergens. Screens in doors and windows let air circulate and lower indoor temperatures, but the outside air may be filled with pollen and other allergens.
An AC unit cools the home and lets doors and windows stay shut. Make sure wall units are secure. Air conditioning service usually includes installation, so a professional can install your unit and minimize drafts.
Mold and Moisture
The filter isn’t the only part of an air conditioner that may contain allergens. Mold can grow among the coils and other inner parts due to condensation and dust and debris that build up without proper cleaning. An air conditioning service technician can perform regularly scheduled maintenance and clean out your AC unit to make sure everything works smoothly and mold colonies have no chance to become established.
Water dripping into your home can also cause mold or mildew growth in carpeting, along or inside walls, and any other surface exposed to moisture. Consult an air conditioning service professional to install your AC unit properly and check the system to make sure condensation drains outside. Even a slight incline in the wrong direction can lead to some water draining indoors.
Call an air conditioning service provider immediately if you notice pooled liquid in or around your AC unit. Condensate lines can clog and lead to water build-up and leaks. A coolant leak is an even more serious problem.
Refrigerant poisoning is a serious and possibly life-threatening hazard, especially for small children and pets. A broken or malfunctioning condensate pump causes moisture build-up and hinders the cooling ability of your AC unit. An air conditioning service technician may attempt to repair the pump or simply replace it with a new part.
It is important to remember that an AC unit can only circulate air it has access to. Any source of mold, bacteria or allergens in the home puts these contaminants into the air. Filters can remove some allergens from the air, but they can not remove every particle, especially if more contaminants are added on a regular basis. If you’re having sinus or allergy trouble and an air conditioning service expert gives your AC unit a clean bill of health, it may be time to search for an alternative source of allergens in your home.
Air Conditioning Sickness
‘Air conditioning sickness’ refers to any sort of illness or malady experienced in an air conditioned home or building. One of the main causes of air conditioning sickness is excessively cold temperatures. Some respiratory viruses spread and thrive in a cold, low-humidity environment.
Cold temperatures cause constriction of the arteries in our skin. This is the body’s effort to prevent heat loss. Blood vessel constriction inhibits flow of red and white blood cells, which leaves the body more susceptible to illness. Living in a very cold environment may also trigger long-term shivering that causes tension headaches and sore muscles or joints.
Set the temperature of your AC at least 5 degrees higher if you experience any of these symptoms. Consult your local air conditioning service professionals if your AC continues to blow excessively cold air after adjusting the temperature.
Most of us are familiar with an almost instant runny nose, nasal drip, and feeling of congestion when we walk outside during cold, dry weather. This condition is called ‘non-allergic rhinitis,’ and it can happen when our homes are very cool and dry as well. Irritating rhinitis symptoms occur when an abrupt temperature change makes blood vessels in the nose swell and prompts glands in the nasal membranes to secrete mucus.
Swollen blood vessels and mucus production cause the ‘stuffy’ congested feeling. Some people are more susceptible to non-allergic rhinitis than others. Frequency and severity of symptoms may be due to hyperresponsive nerve endings in the nose.
It isn’t easy to avoid the effects of a sudden change in temperature when entering your home. Hot days in Fort Worth, TX, can reach temperatures over 100°F. Cooling your home to 70°F or 75°F still leaves a temperature difference of 25 degrees.
The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity levels between 30% to 50%. Humidity above 60% becomes uncomfortable and may increase difficulty breathing for people with any sort of respiratory illness or condition. An air conditioning service technician can measure the humidity in your home with a hygrometer.
Your AC lowers humidity in proportion to temperature. Lower temperature settings mean the AC has to work harder and pull more moisture from the air. Sometimes AC units malfunction and draw in too much air and water vapor regardless of the temperature setting. Call an air conditioning service professional to address a malfunctioning AC unit.
Dry Air and Sinus Headaches
Dry air is one of the most common causes of sinus problems. Effects of dry air are the same regardless of hot or cold temperatures, but cold air is more likely to be excessively dry. Warm temperatures promote higher humidity because warm air can hold more moisture than cold air in Fort Worth, TX.
Saliva and mucus become thick and ineffective after consistent exposure to dry air. Mucus is actually a protective measure to shield the lungs by warming, moistening, and cleaning air during inhalation. Dry air can also aggravate asthma, allergies and other respiratory health issues. High humidity also aggravates these conditions, so the goal is an optimal balance of temperature and comfortable moisture levels.
The lining in sinus cavities can become inflamed and irritated under excessively dry conditions. This irritation causes swelling and inhibits mucus drainage, especially when mucus itself has become thick and sticky. The mucus build-up provides a perfect environment for bacterial infection. Sometimes irritation of the sinuses is severe enough to cause bleeding.
Many people have woken up with sinus headaches and felt quite alarmed at the discovery of dried blood under their nose or on the pillow after sleeping night after night in a very cool, dry room. This condition is more alarming than dangerous, but it is painful and can progressively worsen or contribute to an infection if no steps are taken to fix the problem. Consult an air conditioning service provider if you aren’t sure how to alleviate dry air in your home.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are very useful. These appliances help you manage humidity levels in your home, but turning these devices on and off constantly is not the best way to manage your indoor environment. You could end up wasting electricity and possibly make problems worse.
You probably want to avoid running multiple appliances simultaneously just to have them work against each other. Sometimes a humidifier working in conjunction with an AC unit is necessary. This combination can maintain comfortable, cool temperatures and optimal humidity levels.
An air conditioning service technician can help you find the right balance by measuring humidity and inspecting the home for other issues, such as drafts, poor insulation or an HVAC system in need of repairs and maintenance. Unintended indoor and outdoor air exchange interferes with careful use of humidifiers and air conditioning.
Many different types of humidifiers and dehumidifiers are available, and each model has its own benefits and drawbacks. Small, portable appliances can be used sporadically in rooms like the kitchen or bathroom where humidity tends to be higher than the rest of the home. Consult an air conditioning service expert to help you find the most appropriate model and develop a plan to control humidity in your home.
Ventilation and Air Quality
Your options when dealing with hot weather in Fort Worth, TX, are not limited to cold and uncomfortably dry or hot and humid. You can correct excessively dry air while remaining cool and comfortable. Consult your air conditioning service providers to ask about humidifiers to add moisture. Humidifiers can be very useful, but they must be cleaned and maintained too. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and mitigate some effects of dry air.
Ventilation is a key aspect of controlling indoor humidity. Poor ventilation in the bathroom, kitchen, basement or laundry room traps moisture inside your home. Surfaces may feel damp when humidity levels rise over 60%, and this dampness is frequently accompanied by a musty odor. Unfortunately, that musty odor probably comes from mold or mildew.
Qualified air conditioning service technicians can analyze your home’s ventilation system according to ASHRAE guidelines and offer advice to reduce indoor humidity without excessively dry conditions. Routine maintenance and cleaning keep ventilation systems clear to avoid obstructing air flow and improve overall indoor air quality.
Maintaining low humidity levels and clean air may reduce the need for air conditioning. High humidity exacerbates heat and interferes with our bodies’ cooling methods. Sweat does not evaporate in humid conditions, which leads to an overheated, ‘sticky’ and uncomfortable feeling. Limiting AC use also limits the risk of removing too much moisture from the air.
Air conditioning service providers also handle many other home maintenance issues. There are many ways to cool your home without air conditioning. Cooling measures include closing blinds or curtains to limit sunlight, ceiling fans, and opening the top section of your windows to take advantage of cool breezes.
Complete tasks such as laundry, washing dishes and baking in the cooler evening hours to avoid adding more moisture and heat during the day. Use a chill pillow and silk or satin sheets at night. Silk and satin feel cool and the light material lets your skin breathe.
Install an awning to shield windows from direct sunlight and consider applying window films to improve insulation. Ask an air conditioning service technician about duct booster fans. These small fans are placed in a vent or register to help air circulate and draw cool air into hot rooms.
Air conditioning combined with other cooling measures can maintain a comfortable indoor temperature with appropriate humidity levels. It isn’t necessary to run AC units at all times, so the drying effect is greatly reduced.
Call One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Fort Worth, TX, for all of your heating and cooling needs. These air conditioning service professionals can answer your questions and help find solutions to dry air and any other issues you or your family may experience.