6 Signs That Your Air Conditioner Could Be Making You Sick
1. Breathing or Respiratory Problems
When your air conditioner becomes dirty, and the filters aren’t changed often, they become a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and fungi. This oversight can result in black mold in especially bad cases, as moisture can build up in the coils and ducts from condensation that forms when the cool air passes. When these microorganisms go airborne, they can lead to many breathing problems. These issues might include a potentially fatal infectious pneumonia or even Legionnaires’ disease, which comes from the Legionella pneumophila bacteria.
Solution: You can prevent this easily by taking the time to make sure your air conditioning systems stay cleaned regularly and that the filter is changed every few months.
2. Watching for Mold
Living or working near an old and moldy air conditioner can increase your chances of respiratory infection. Mold also causes symptoms like throat irritation, wheezing, and congestion. If you are feeling any of these symptoms, it may be time you checked out your surroundings for mold. Check inside the vents of your air conditioning unit for small spots, and pull out the filter for inspection.
Solution: The best and most effective way to destroy mold is with a mixture of 1 qt. Water and 1/2 cup bleach. Be sure to scrub down the spots of the mold with a sponge and use protective gloves. If the filter has moldy spots on it, then replace it with a fresh one.
3. Fatigue and Headaches
Many individuals find that after a day of work, they tend to feel more tired than usual, some have headaches, and some have a general sense of weariness. Those same people will also find that once they leave the building, the symptoms often resolve. The chances are that it may be something in the building, such as the air conditioner. In a study published on Aug. 19, 2004, International Journal of Epidemiology, people working in office buildings with central air conditioning had more symptoms of illness than those who did not work in buildings with central air.
Solution: By simply raising the temperature, just so that you are not shivering, and by taking regular breaks to step outside for fresh air, you should be able to avoid the fatigue of “sick building syndrome.”
4. Contamination and Germs
The Environmental Protection Agency has warned that we may be exposed to more pollutants inside than outside. One cause of this could be central air conditioning circulating old stagnant air rather than bringing in fresh air from outside. Meaning that if there is mold, dust, animal dander, viruses, or airborne infections floating about, then individuals are more likely to be exposed and get sick.
Solution: Some central air conditioning systems are built with this in mind and allow a “leak” from the outside. You can also manage this by creating your leak by cracking open a window.
5. Dry or Flakey Skin
Spending lots of time in an air-conditioned environment can cause your skin to dry out. The cold, dry air often causes your skin to lose moisture, which results in dry, flaky skin. The same can be said for your hair and scalp, as they may suffer some ill effects as well.
Solution: An easy solution to this is to get a moisturizer or cream and be sure to drink plenty of water.
6. Visiting the Doctor Frequently
Studies have shown that individuals who spend more time in an air-conditioned environment have increased use of health care services. An analysis found an increase in complaints related to ears-nose-and-throat problems, respiratory issues, and dermatological problems.
Solution: Follow all of the other steps above, and take the time to ensure that the facility and air conditioner is clean.
THE HOME COMFORT EXPERTS
To prevent your air conditioning from making you sick, keep it running smoothly with regular maintenance and care. KCR’s HVAC maintenance appointments should work around your family’s schedule. For nearly 50 years, KCR has provided residences and businesses with peace of mind and temperature control. We’re proud to serve our customers efficiently and flexibly in managing efficient home heating and air conditioning.
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