While most people associate health issues and discomfort with the colder months of the year, the summer season is not without its fair share of sickness-causing problems. As the temperature rises, air conditioners go to full blast, turning offices, homes, and public spaces into havens where you can stay cool in the summer heat. Despite the joys of being in a climate-controlled space, it’s not uncommon for people to suffer sinus issues, headaches, and even asthma-related problems.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not your AC that’s causing those complications. In fact, cool air can be quite beneficial if you suffer from respiratory problems. That uncomfortable feeling that some people associate with their air conditioner may actually be caused by poor maintenance and pre-existing dangers within the building.
Air conditioners are engineered to make your home more comfortable and safe to be in. However, they can’t their job if they’re not adequately maintained. Here’s some crucial information on how AC units can affect your health and some useful tips on how you can take advantage of AC services to avoid problems.
Common Symptoms of “Air Conditioner Sickness”
For the most part, the idea of “air conditioner sickness,” is just an old wives tale. In the early days of modern climate control systems, many people believed that the cold these machines produced were causing a unique illness. You may have heard your grandparents provide warnings against staying in a cool room for too long. While that concept has long been debunked, there is a small grain of truth to it.
If you spend your entire day cooped up in an air-conditioned building, you may start to develop some uncomfortable symptoms. These could include:
- A stuffed nose
So why do these problems occur? Well, it’s a good idea to examine your AC as well as your building.
Blame it on Mold and Bacteria
Mold and bacteria are a very real threat that can affect your well-being. To make matters worse, mold can go undetected for many months or years. In the meantime, you’re breathing it in on a daily basis. Furthermore, mold and bacteria will spread the longer it’s ignored.
In most cases of “air conditioner sickness,” mold is the culprit. Air conditioners are designed to circulate air throughout the home. Unfortunately, this process can make mold and bacteria airborne, bringing it to parts of your home it doesn’t normally access.
To avoid health issues, it’s important to take care of mold at its source. AC units can keep your home dry, but they won’t tackle the root cause of mold or eliminate any existing issues. Mold and bacteria typically accumulate in the following areas:
- Underneath sinks
- Basements, attics, and crawl spaces
- Below leaking pipes
- Around appliance hookups
- Within faulty HVAC ducts
- On AC coils and drain lines
- In potted plants
Preventing Asthma Issues
Asthma suffers need to be extra vigilant with air conditioning service appointments. There are many things that could trigger allergies and cause attacks. While there are accessories and equipment that are specially made to filter air and avoid asthma-related complications, triggers can still find their way in.
Filters aren’t effective unless they’re clean and properly installed. If not, those allergens are free to circulate your home. To avoid being affected by common triggers, you can utilize professional AC services to:
- Clean or replace air filters
- Remove mold from AC system
- Take care of condensation leaks
Air Conditioners and Sinus Problems
Another issue that’s commonly associated with air conditioning is irritated sinuses. It’s true that staying in cold environments can result in runny noses and clogged sinuses. However, it’s not the AC itself that’s causing the problem.
ACs work to remove humidity from your home, resulting in cool dry air. If you have your unit on the coldest setting possible, you’re creating a very dry environment that’s not good for your body. In an extremely dry setting, the moist lining in your nose evaporates. Without that lining, your more susceptible to the effects of bacterial infections and mold.
It’s always best to keep your air conditioner at a moderate setting. If you start to experience sinus discomfort, consider raising the temperature a few degrees to introduce a bit more moisture into the air. Also, get assistance from air conditioning service professionals. Clogged sinuses are a tell-tale sign that you have mold in your home.
In addition to spreading it around your home, air conditioning units can be a source of mold all on their own. As air passes over the coils in the system, condensation is produced. Usually, the moisture is drained out of a dedicated line without a problem. However, leaks can occur. A service professional will be able to diagnose a leak and find a solution to prevent mold from growing.
Regular Maintenance is Key to Staying Healthy
Overall, a poorly maintained air conditioner unit is to blame for many of the health issues that people face when they’re cooling off during the summer. While the air conditioner is not causing those problems directly, they may be making it easier to pre-existing problems to affect your well-being.
An air conditioning service company can help you avoid these issues. Professionals can take a look at your HVAC system and face potential concerns head-on. With regular maintenance appointments, you can catch potential sickness-causing dilemmas before they become a bigger hazard. Among many other things, AC experts can take care of:
- Dirty air filters
- Faulty condensation lines
- Dirty coils
- Refrigerant leaks
It’s recommended that you have your AC examined at least once a year. Having the system inspected and tested before the summer season starts will ensure that your home or office building is safe and comfortable to be in. Contact your local HVAC professional to schedule your maintenance appointment today.