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Does Your A/C Make You Feel Ill?

One of the great conveniences of modern times is air conditioning. It allows us to live, work, play and learn in cool and comfortable environments—even when the Hudson Valley region is at its hottest and muggiest.

There are also some health benefits to air conditioning. It can help reduce symptoms for people with asthma or allergies.

But not maintaining or using your air conditioning system properly can cause problems, including making you feel sick or, worse, making you actually sick.

How Your Air Conditioner Can Make You Feel Ill

First of all, cold air alone does not make you sick. Second, illness and disease directly linked to air conditioners is rare.

But there have been studies that have linked air conditioning to increased sickness or physical malaise. One of the greatest risks comes from large commercial air conditioners that use water for cooling. Because it’s a damp environment, its water system is vulnerable to the growth of bacteria and mold. It’s why Legionnaire’s Disease is found in large apartment buildings.

But smaller home and commercial air conditioners can also cause problems. Mold, mildew and bacteria can form in the system, both from a lack of maintenance and from dust, dirt and bacteria in the air it’s bringing in.

Air conditioning may contribute to something called “sick building syndrome,” where people report being tired, feeling malaise, and having headaches more often and the symptoms often are alleviated upon leaving the building.

What You Can Do About it

The most critical thing for you to do is keep your home or commercial air conditioning system well maintained with regular tune-ups.

Air conditioning systems that aren’t properly maintained have more dust, dirt and moisture. It’s a perfect environment for bacteria, mildew and mold to develop — and then be blown right into your home or business. The evaporator coils, drip pan and condensate drain are especially hospitable for the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria and other germs.

There are some other things you can do to make your air conditioner less likely to make you feel ill:

  • Turn the temperature up. Too-cold air causes shivering, which can lead to headaches and other symptoms of malaise. Minimize the contrast between the outdoor temperature and indoor temperature as much as you comfortably can.
  • Prevent mold and mildew in your home. Run your bathroom fan when showering. Clean up any water damage immediately.
  • If there is mold and mildew in your home, treat it yourself or professionally to prevent it from being circulated through the air conditioning unit.

Keep your home – and yourself – healthy. Schedule an air conditioning tune-up with Black Bear today!