Have you or your family been feeling under the weather more than usual lately? Are you suffering from allergies to something unknown? Believe it or not, your central air conditioner could be to blame. Here is what you need to know about how your air conditioner can actually make you sick.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Pollution
Air pollution is a huge problem in many areas these days, and if you take a look at the smog over cities like Los Angeles and New York City, you can actually see it for yourself. While Florida is bright and sunny and the air is often crisp thanks to the constant breeze coming off of the ocean, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the air inside your home can cause a major problem. In fact, even in the aforementioned cities, the air inside residents’ homes is four to five times dirtier, according to the EPA. With all of the time that most Floridians spend indoors, this can cause problems.
What Is In the Air?
If you have a central air conditioner in your home, then there are any number of things that can get into that system and spread through your home through the ducts. Dust mites, mold, pollen, dander, and even smoke particles can enter through the return air system and eventually spread all throughout your home. Mold can actually take root in various parts of your ductwork – and even in the air handler itself – and then spread throughout your home, making you and your family feel sick.
The Symptoms of Poor Air Quality
In general, if your indoor air quality is bad, you’ll likely feel less than 100% most of the time. If you have small children, you may notice that they sniffle a lot or that it seems as if they are constantly coming down with sinus infections. Other symptoms of poor air quality include sneezing, itchy eyes, fatigue, skin rashes or irritation, coughing, respiratory issues up to and including asthma attacks, headaches, and a general feeling of malaise. If these things are plaguing you and your family and you haven’t been able to find a solution, consider contacting your local HVAC professionals to check your central air system.
Combating Indoor Air Quality Issues
There are a few things that you can do to prevent mold and stop the spread of things like dust and dander. First, make sure to change your filter regularly, and be sure that your filter is designed to catch even the smallest particles. Next, do a ductwork check and make sure that there are no leaks or gaps. These can allow moisture (a breeding ground for mold) to seep in, and they can also allow for unfiltered air to make its way into your system and throughout your home. Finally, be sure that you schedule regular maintenance on your unit. Once a year is generally recommended, but individuals with health issues may want to schedule maintenance every six months, instead.
While it is true that your air conditioner can make you sick, there are things that you can do to prevent it. Indoor air quality is very important not only to your health, but also to your overall quality of life. Your local HVAC professionals can help you make sure that everything is clean and safe.