In the grand scheme, air conditioning is a relatively new and fantastic method of air-cooling during sweltering summer months. It’s important to keep your family cool so as to avoid dehydration and fatigue. However, air conditioners – particularly, contaminated air conditioners – may present new challenges to the indoor air quality in your healthy home, leading to “sick building syndrome.”
The Environmental Protection Agency describes sick building syndrome as a term used to describe “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.”
It’s not always clear how this phenomenon occurs. However, your air conditioner could easily become a contributing factor. Moisture is a byproduct of turning warm air into cooler air. If your air conditioner is older, damaged, or hasn’t been properly cleaned or inspected, it can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, black mold and fungi that can impact your indoor air quality and lead to health issues. By cleaning and maintaining your air conditioner, you’ll be able to keep your cool during the hot summer months and avoid sick building syndrome.
Additionally, to keep moisture at bay during the summertime, you should consider using a dehumidifier to help keep your indoor humidity between 30-50% where indoor air pollutants are less likely to thrive.
have your air conditioner inspected and maintained regularly
forget about dehumidification
Your dehumidifier’s job is to help reduce the amount of moisture in the air. This helps to eliminate the amount of indoor air pollution circulating through your air. In addition, drier air feels roughly 8° cooler than humid air. This means your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool the air in your home, saving you money on energy costs in the process. As a general rule, always try to keep you indoor humidity between 30-50%.
use an air purifier throughout your home
use your air conditioner unnecessarily
A little thermal discomfort is actually good for you. We’re not saying you shouldn’t use your air conditioner, obviously. Your body will adapt to the temperature. However, Dr. Stan Cox says, “when we’re a little cold or a little warm, our metabolism runs faster.” He also added “people tend to eat more and gain more weight when the temperature is perfectly cozy.” So consider lowering the air conditioning a bit to live a little healthier…and save on energy costs in the process.
use air filters tailored to your needs and exchange them regularly
Regularly exchanging your air filters also helps your family remain healthy more consistently. Aprilaire offers air filters designed to help rid your home of specific indoor air pollutants. Identify your family’s healthy needs and commit to an air filter that’s going to help your family breathe easy in the long run.
“If you have a badly maintained or badly designed AC system, whether it’s in your home or office or vehicle, it can become contaminated and potentially harmful,”
The contaminants from a dirty or malfunctioning air conditioner can lead to a wealth of health conditions. If you’re going to keep your cool during the summertime, be sure to maintain your air conditioner in advance. If you believe it’s damaged or needs a cleaning, call a technician to ensure you and your family are breathing fresh air all summer long.
The information contained on the Aprilaire website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. All information is for informational and educational purposes only and any use thereof is solely at your own risk.