Do you like to keep your air conditioning on a lot? Or do you think about running it longer but you’re not sure you should?
Keeping your air conditioning running 24/7 can be bad for a number of reasons; it’s not a problem by default, but it can contribute to a range of health problems.
Here’s how overusing an air conditioner can impact on your health:
Dry skin, eyes, mouth and nose
Long exposure to air conditioning can lower humidity which can dry the air out, affecting eyes, mouths, noses and skin. Dry air is a normal by-product of cooling; the way to balance it out is to use a humidifier or use the unit less often.
Increased risk of colds & other respiratory symptoms
The affect here is two-pronged; firstly the dry air can dry out your mucus membranes – making them less effective. This can make you more vulnerable to upper respiratory infections such as colds and coughs.
Secondly the overuse can mean your air conditioner and HVAC system becomes dirtier and starts to spread harmful bacteria and fungi.
If you use your air conditioner frequently it’s important that you keep on-top of maintaining it. This includes changing the filter regularly, cleaning the air ducts etc.
Risk of SBS (sick building syndrome)
SBS is associated with seemingly unrelated symptoms which are non-specific to any particular condition such as eye, nose, throat and respiratory issues. There’s a large body of research that suggests that workers in air conditioned office buildings experience worse symptoms than those in un-air conditioned buildings; somewhere in the region of 30%-200% worse.
Cooling air creates a lot of moisture which must be processed by the A/C. If the system does a bad job of this, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Again the act of using the air conditioning alone doesn’t cause this, but it comes when it’s used frequently and not maintained enough.
Problems with heat intolerance
Too much time in an air-conditioned environment can make it harder for your body to cope with exposure to heat when you go outside. Some people may experience fatigue, dizziness, headaches, trouble breathing and in severe cases heat stroke.
Increased allergy symptoms
Do you typically suffer with allergies in the summer? Constant use of air conditioning could make it worse; assuming it’s not well maintained. A poorly maintained system can promote the growth of allergens which the A/C can then spread throughout the home. Remember to:
- Replace air filters
- Clean registers and return vents
- Clean dust and debris on and around the air conditioning unit
- Have the air ducts properly cleaned.
This is unlikely in most cases, but loud air conditioners should not be overlooked as a potential threat to health, especially if they’re on constantly. The constant background noise can even contribute to tinnitus.
Safe use of Air Conditioning
It’s not ideal to keep your air conditioning running all the time, but it’s not exactly harmful on it’s own, all you need is a little common sense to keep you and your household safe.
- Clean and/or replace air filters as per the manufacturer’s recommendation
- Schedule a yearly inspection of your air conditioning to safeguard against problems
- Ensure adequate ventilation to help clear indoor pollutants, bring in fresh air and allow it to circulate. It’s good to turn off the A/C now and then to allow for this.
- Install an air purifier – you can ask an air conditioning professional for advice on this
Constantly using your air conditioner is not bad for you on it’s own, but it can create the conditions for a variety of health concerns. It’s a good idea to review your A/C use and adjust as you see fit. Above all remember to maintain your unit well to stay out of trouble.
If you’d like help or advice maintaining your air conditioning or improving air quality and comfort in the Norwalk / New Haven County, CT area then contact the 5* rated professionals at Hellas Air Temp: 203-852-0666