26 Feb. 19

Is Air Conditioning Healthy?

The primary function of an air conditioning system is to cool your home. During hot summers, the cool breeze of an air conditioner is one of life’s greatest comforts. Sure, air conditioners make life easier for you via cooling. However, air conditioners also go a long way in helping you when it comes to your health.

Over time, we have come to find out that most people have heard tell of scary air conditioner stories. Perhaps, you have been looking to outfit your home with an air conditioning system. Maybe the only factor holding you back is your concern about the health impacts of an air conditioner. You are asking yourself “Is air conditioning healthy?”.

The answer to this question is yes. In as much as your air conditioner is in proper working condition, it holds zero dangers for your health.

Your average air conditioning system holds a plethora of benefits for your health. Keep reading as we analyze the health benefits of using an air conditioner. This article also discusses the circumstances under which an air conditioner may pose threats to your health.

Benefits of using an air conditioner

Air conditioners are made primarily for cooling, that is why many people often ignore the various health benefits that they offer. Some of these benefits include:

1. Reduce heat-related symptoms

Heat waves can be a health crisis in scorching weather. Young children and the aged have a high probability of falling victim to dehydration and heat stroke. In as much as air conditioning is absent, the risk of suffering heat-related symptoms increases by almost double.

Additionally, specific health issues such as immune disorders and heart problems can be made worse as a result of increased heat levels.

2. Improved Air Quality

If you are looking to have clean air inside your home, an air conditioner is a way to go. If your air conditioning system is top notch, it can filtrate and clean the air that is coming into your home.

Air conditioners use special filters that can remove mould, bacteria, and pollutants from the air. This automatically makes your house cleaner and healthier for you.

3. Air Conditioners Eliminate Pollutants

Through no fault of yours, contaminants such as microbe and pollens can find their way into your home. If your air conditioning system is up to scratch, it can help you get rid of these pollutants. If these pollutants are absent, it will increase the quality of your health. The probability of you contracting a cold or flu will also fall drastically.

Air Conditioning Problems

Using an air conditioner is not all rosy. If you don’t use it under proper conditions, it can cause a plethora of health problems for you. Below are a few situations that can cause health problems for you.

1. High Humidity

If your air conditioner is cooling the room without reducing humidity, it can aid the spread of diseases and sicknesses. This situation can occur if you are using an air conditioner that is too large for your living space. An air conditioner that is too large will cool your room speedily without reducing your room’s humidity.

Your AC needs to work for a certain amount of time to remove enough water from the atmosphere and subsequently minimize humidity levels.

High humid conditions are the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish. This increases the risk of infection. Fungus and mould that are unhealthy for the body will be able to grow and multiply. If you neglect your air conditioning system, it can lead to the spread of disease-causing germs.

2. Low Humidity

If your air conditioning system is running continuously without stopping, your living space may become less humid than usual. This may occur if your thermostat is set too low or there is a fault within the system.

Low humid conditions mean that the air you breathe in will be dry. This may lead to dry hair and skin. Additionally, your sinuses may dry out making it far easier to suffer respiratory tract infections.

3. Temperature Changes

Do you know that sudden change you feel when you go into your cold office from the hot outdoors? That sudden change from one temperature to another can have serious health implications. Most of the time, you would like to keep your home or office cold. This can be uncomfortable especially if the temperature outdoors is hot.

If you have sinus issues or nasal allergies, these constant drastic temperature changes may not be suitable for you. It is possible that it may lead to the irritation of your nasal membranes. This irritation can lead to rhinitis, runny nose, and other allergic reactions.

Additionally, individuals with severe medical problems like diabetes may not be equipped to handle such drastic changes in temperatures. If you fall into this class, you are advised to set your thermostat so that the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures isn’t overly drastic.

4. Refrigerant Exposure

Refrigerants used by your air conditioner are extremely dangerous. Typically, you are not supposed to be exposed to the refrigerant liquid. This is because it is contained inside the air conditioning system. However, if a leak occurs or you allow an untrained individual to handle your air conditioner, it may lead to dangerous exposure to these chemicals.

Always make sure that your air conditioner is serviced or repaired by a licensed HVAC expert.

Preventing Air Conditioning Related Health Problems

Air conditioners are not designed to have any detrimental effects on your health. If your air conditioner is affecting your health, it means that it isn’t functioning properly. Below are a few steps that you should take to make sure that you don’t suffer from air conditioner health issues. They are:

1. Preventive Maintenance

If you are maintaining your air conditioner regularly, it is highly unlikely that it will cause you any health problems. A good way to do this is to schedule regular appointments with a qualified HVAC technician. Making sure that your AC is working well before you use it in summer and after you stop using it in winter, goes a long way in keeping it in tip-top shape.

During each maintenance session, make sure you ask questions that keep your technicians on their toes. A good maintenance effort should involve the inspection and cleaning of the system, removal of moisture build-up and elimination of mould.

Your HVAC expert should also check your evaporator coils, fan motor, belts and pipes for moisture and dirt build-up.

Related article: How often should I service my air conditioner?

2. Regular duct cleaning

If you are making use of a system that has ducts, it is possible that disease-causing germs may accumulate in them. If this happens, you may suffer from health problems. Make sure that your pipes are cleaned regularly. This will prevent the spread of viruses, bacteria, and mould via your ducts.

3. Use the right filters

Using the right type of filters for your air conditioners goes a long way in making sure that you don’t suffer from health problems. It is recommended that you purchase a HEPA filter for your AC.

Standard filters prevent dirt and dust from polluting your air conditioner. However, they can’t prevent allergens, pollen, and pollutants from getting in your air cooling system. HEPA filters or High Energy Particulate Filters offer you the best health benefits.

HEPA filters are made from glass fibres, and they trap foreign particles extra effectively. However, it should be noted that HEPA filters should be changed once in two months at the very least.

Before choosing a HEPA filter, you should put its MERV rating into consideration. The MERV rating is a measure of how efficient the filter is at trapping foreign pollutants.

To enjoy optimum health benefits, make sure you choose a filter with a MERV rating of at least 10.

4. Replace air filters frequently

If you are using your air conditioner in a place with below-par air quality like a restaurant, you should take more steps to ensure that your cooling system is keeping you in good health. If you stay somewhere with a high incidence of airborne particulates, your air filters will get clogged faster.

Clean your air filters and replace them if need be. Aside from the fact that you have regular maintenance schedules, you should ask your local HVAC expert to replace your air filters. Over time, it would be beneficial if you could learn to restore and clean them by yourself.

In conclusion, air conditioning has no dangerous side effects for you. Most of the time, it can be good for your health. According to research statistics gleaned from the CDC, air conditioning protects against heat-related diseases and sicknesses. If you have the financial capacity to handle it, you should not skimp on air conditioning, especially if you need it.

During the summer months, intense heat can be very discomforting. Apart from the fact that you would have to learn to deal with it, heat exposure can impact your health in severe ways. Don’t be shy about it. Crank your AC if you need it. As long as it is in good working condition, it will not affect your health.

If you are thinking about buying an air conditioner or servicing one, our experts are on hand to help you. Call us today!