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Can Air Conditioning Make You Sick?

Yes and no. It’s possible your air conditioning is contributing to making you sick or adding to unpleasant symptoms. Is it actually the thing making you sick? Not really.

The cooled air coming from an AC system is not making you ill. The reasons for feeling sick are the adverse effects of air conditioning. Your home heating and cooling system is likely combining with factors in your home, or air quality, or cleanliness and creating an environment where health problems are more probable.

An AC system keeps airflow going in an indoor space. If the indoor space includes contaminants, toxins, bacteria, mold or other pollutants, it will be sent all over the house or building. These contaminants, in part because of the air conditioning, can trigger sickness or bad symptoms.

For example, you have a high level of dander in your home and the air. Air conditioning will circulate this air all over, and pretty constantly. You may feel respiratory problems, allergic reactions, sore throat, eye problems and more. If an HVAC system is not well maintained and clean, it can increase the chances of mold or bacteria being in your airflow.

If you like keeping a colder than normal home, with AC being a part of it, a colder environment may contribute to dry skin, dry eyes and viruses, since viruses survive and grow more in colder spaces.

Use Your AC and Don’t Get Sick

Keeping a maintained AC and HVAC system and keeping a clean home or office are the main things you can do to stop the AC from making you feel sick. The other option is not use the AC. Is that really an option in a summer in Charlotte and the Carolinas?

First, you want to keep your indoor environment free from mold, bacteria and allergens. A lot of contaminants will settle and grow in cooler, more humid, places.

Other general health and wellbeing tips include staying hydrated by drinking enough water each day. Going outside for one or two short spells a day, even just for a walk for a few minutes, may help. If you’re feeling headaches or fatigue while inside, it could be you have your AC set too cold. If there’s a huge difference between the outdoor temperature and your home temperature, it could cause some of these symptoms.

Next, this is a major reason why regular upkeep and maintenance on an HVAC system is important. There are steps you can handle, such as basic cleaning and regular filter changes. Professional HVAC checks, maintenance and cleaning should be done once or twice a year by technicians.

How AC Can Cause More Germs

Mold and bacteria can get into your indoor environment, then grow in that environments, when there’s moisture and food – and for mold, dust and dirt is food. These parts of an AC system need to be checked regularly.

Evaporator coils

To cool your house, air is blown over the cold evaporator coils in your air conditioner. As the air passes the coils, the moisture in the air condenses and collects on the coils. The moisture gathers germs and dust. This produces a perfect environment for mold, mildew and microorganisms to grow and be blown into your house’s air.

Drip pan and condensate drain

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coils should gather in the drip pan and should drain out through the condensate drain. This drain pipe can leak or clog, making the water back up in the system. Again, this becomes a perfect place for bacteria and mold.

How to Prevent Bacteria in your Home and AC

To keep your air conditioning system from making you or your family sick, here are things to check:

  • Clean up any type of water damage instantly to stop the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Have a professional technician get rid of any type of contributors to mold and mildew that currently exist.
  • Switch on your bathroom fans when showering or bathing. This assists get rid of humidity as well as reduces the chance of mold or mildew from shower condensation.
  • Get a pro air conditioning and HVAC tune-up every year. Part of this service is cleaning the evaporator coils and checking the condensate drain line for clog or leakage.
  • Consider getting an air cleaner.

Mold

If you see any visible mold on your walls, around vents, or around any part of your HVAC system, you need to take steps to properly stop and clean it immediately. Mold particles can become airborne. The air conditioning can spread it elsewhere in the house or building. Mold causes many health concerns, including coughing, throat irritation and allergies.
It is best to inspect the inside of ducts and vents regularly to detect any kind of signs of mold. If you think there could be an issue, promptly call an expert to handle the problem and stop additional infestations.

Irritated Eyes

Cool air and lower indoor humidity levels may make you sick or feel bad. Low humidity can lead to dry and irritated eyes. Moisture in eyes will evaporate more in drier conditions. People who already have dry eyes occasionally or frequently should either take steps to control the AC and humidity indoors or not stay in an air conditioned environment for long stretches.

Dehydration

The dehumidification process that keeps your indoor space cool results in a difference in humidity between indoors and outdoors. This reduced humidity and cooler temperature makes you feel fine, and not drink as much water as you might need to. You could find you feel lightheaded or experience headaches when you’ve been in a cool space for a long time. This may be due to the dehydration the dehumidification causes.

 

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At South End Heating and Air we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.