Many Americans use air conditioners, whether at home or in the office. Studies show that 90% of the country has an air conditioner at home and that these units account for 10% of the world’s electricity consumption.
It’s easy to understand why HVAC systems are so popular, especially in Arlington, TX, where the heat can get unbearable. They are reliable companions that help homeowners endure humidity and heat. The comfort they provide after an hour’s workout or a long day at work is priceless.
But can an air conditioner make you sick?
While air conditioners don’t necessarily make you sick, they can interact with the environment in ways that affect your health. Read on to learn more about air conditioning sickness and how to avoid it with the help of an AC repair company.
What Causes Air Conditioning Sickness?
If not maintained properly, ACs become a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. Without regular cleaning, condensation accumulates as air passes over the coils in the AC. The moisture creates a breeding ground for pathogens to thrive. Having an AC repair company inspect and repair any issues at least once a year can ensure your system stays in top shape.
If your house is a breeding ground for bacteria or mold growth or isn’t regularly vacuumed, the air conditioner will circulate the harmful pathogens already present. Even the best well-maintained air conditioners cannot address root issues of messy walls and floors or mold in your home. When these allergens become airborne and circulate through the house via the air ducts, you’ll likely experience symptoms of air conditioning sickness.
Running your AC too cold can also contribute to air conditioning sickness. Doing so causes the spread of cold-causing viruses, which thrive in low-humidity, cold environments. These temperatures also constrict the blood vessels and reduce blood flow, including white blood cells responsible for protecting against illnesses. Low temperatures equal a dry environment that evaporates moisture from the nose, making you more susceptible to infection. Now let’s explore symptoms of air conditioner sickness and how an AC repair company can help keep your unit clean.
What Are the Symptoms of Air Conditioning Sickness?
The symptoms of air conditioning sickness don’t include chronic illnesses, but they can leave adverse effects if ignored.
Breathing Difficulty and Other Respiratory Issues
Some people experience breathing and respiratory issues in conditioned rooms and feel better when they leave. This occurs when air filters aren’t cleaned or changed as needed. Air filters trap allergens; if not cleaned or changed in time, those allergens start circulating in your home. As a result, you and your family end up breathing contaminated air. Adhere to the advice of your local AC repair company and clean your air filters after 250 hours of use and change them every three months.
Dry, Flaky, or Itchy Skin
Air conditioning units pull moisture from indoor air, which may result in dry, flaky, or itchy skin. This happens when you run your air conditioner for too long. A humidifier can help maintain optimal humidity levels and keep the air from getting too dry. A smart thermostat can also help. Talk to an AC repair company about installing a smart thermostat or whole-house humidifier.
You should be worried if you see any visible mold on the walls, around the vents, or any part of your air conditioner. Mold spores can become airborne and circulate through the vents into different rooms, exposing you to various health concerns. Regularly looking inside the ducts and getting the local AC repair company to inspect your unit can keep mold growth at bay.
Cold or Allergy-Like Symptoms
Do you or your family members experience allergy-like symptoms when the AC is on and feel better when you turn off the unit? This may include coughing, sneezing, wheezing, or throat irritation and often indicates air conditioning sickness. The underlying problem may be dirty air filters or mold in the air ducts. A maintenance check with an air conditioning repair company can pinpoint and resolve the issue.
Heat Intolerance and High Blood Pressure
Most people can hardly withstand high temperatures, but the ability to do so can reduce the risk of air conditioning sickness. Heat intolerance is a common symptom among individuals who spend a lot of time indoors. Using natural ventilation when it’s not too hot, turning up the thermostat, or walking outside for fresh air can help avoid this situation.
It’s also worth noting that temperatures directly affect blood pressure. Research shows that every one-degree drop in temperature causes an increase of 0.48mmHg and 0.45mmHg in systolic and diastolic pressure, respectively. The effect is particularly pronounced in people who already suffer from high blood pressure. Talk to an AC repair company in Arlington, TX, about getting a smart thermostat and humidifier to maintain high-quality indoor air that’s good for your blood pressure.
Fatigue and Headaches
If your HVAC system is dirty and not well-maintained, you’re more likely to experience headaches. Spending time in a space where the air conditioner is dirty may also leave you feeling exhausted and with a sense of general weariness. This is evident from a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology in 2004, which found that people working in air-conditioned buildings experienced more symptoms of illness than those who didn’t work in buildings with central air. Getting an air conditioning repair company to clean the HVAC can ensure that your employees and clients don’t experience sick building syndrome.
What Can I Do to Avoid Air Conditioning Sickness?
The first thing you can do to prevent air conditioning sickness is to clear your home of any allergens – mold, mildew, dust, and debris – that may be present. Take steps to prevent the growth of mold and mildew by addressing the moisture issues in your home. Next, turn on the air conditioning system itself.
Staying on top of HVAC maintenance with the help of an experienced AC repair company is the best way to avoid air conditioning sickness. Scheduling regular checkups and tuneups with the team at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Fort Worth in Arlington, TX, will keep the above symptoms at bay.
If you think an unmaintained HVAC is the culprit for your symptoms, contact your local AC repair company for a maintenance check. Our team will be happy to clean your AC, handle any repairs, and discuss plans for a more regular maintenance routine.