Signs Your Air Conditioner May Be Making You Sick

March 23, 2023

Are you feeling ill and don’t know why? It could be that your air conditioner is making you sick. From a stuffy nose to headaches, there are a number of conditions that an AC unit can cause. So, how does AC make you sick? Keep reading to learn more.


Poor Air Quality

Poor indoor air quality can have a number of adverse effects on your health. A variety of factors can cause poor air quality, including, but not limited to, dust, mold, pet dander, smoke, and other airborne pollutants. Poor air quality can cause a range of symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and respiratory issues.


One of the primary reasons that an AC can make you sick is that it circulates the same air throughout your house. If you don’t regularly clean and replace the filters on your air conditioner, then the air quality in your home can quickly deteriorate. Dust, pollen, and other pollutants can build up in your filters, which can be harmful to your respiratory system. This can cause allergies, headaches, and other symptoms that you may not even realize are related to poor air quality.


Additionally, if an AC system has been running for an extended period without proper cleaning, it can become a breeding ground for mold and other harmful bacteria. Mold thrives in dark, damp environments, such as an AC system’s ducts, and can lead to serious health conditions.


Humidity Issues

Your AC unit is responsible for conditioning the air by removing excess moisture. If your AC is malfunctioning, it can lead to high humidity levels in your home. High humidity levels not only cause discomfort but can also have negative effects on your health. When the humidity is too high inside your home, it can create an environment that supports the growth of mold and mildew, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms. This can lead to illness and respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies, and sinus infections.


On the other hand, low humidity can also be problematic. Dry air can cause dry throat and skin, as well as respiratory issues such as asthma. It can also make the air feel cooler than it actually is, which can cause you to adjust the temperature settings of your AC unit in an attempt to compensate. This can make your unit work harder than necessary, leading to increased energy costs and a shorter lifespan.


In order to avoid any potential health problems, it is important to keep humidity levels in check. This can be done by using a humidifier or dehumidifier, depending on the current levels. By monitoring and controlling the humidity levels, you can prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms and the onset of respiratory issues. Regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit is crucial in preventing humidity-related illnesses and keeping your home comfortable and healthy.


Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant leaks are a common problem in air conditioning systems. They can cause a variety of issues, including reduced cooling capacity and increased energy consumption, which can lead to higher utility bills. However, a more concerning issue that can arise from a refrigerant leak is its impact on your health.

When your AC system has a refrigerant leak, it can release harmful chemicals into the air. These chemicals include hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are often used in older AC systems. When these chemicals are released, they can cause a range of health problems, from mild irritation to more serious respiratory issues. Some of the symptoms of exposure to these chemicals include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.


If a refrigerant leak is suspected, it is important to call a technician right away. The technician will be able to detect the leak and repair it. This will help to reduce the number of dangerous chemicals that are released into the air and restore the air conditioning system to proper working order. It is also important to ensure that the air conditioning unit is regularly serviced and maintained, as this will help to prevent further leaks from occurring.

It is crucial to ensure that your air conditioning system is clean and well-maintained to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for harmful microbes and allergens that could cause respiratory problems and other health issues. Regularly changing filters, cleaning ducts, and scheduling professional maintenance checks can go a long way toward maintaining a healthy HVAC system, ensuring proper indoor air quality, and promoting overall well-being.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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