Air Conditioning and Allergies: What You Need to Know
April 8th, 2021 by Emily Mixter
Allergies affect more than 50 million Americans throughout various times of the year. However, it’s actually allergens or “triggers” that cause issues with sneezing, watery eyes, and other common allergy symptoms. But did you know your air conditioning system can also play a role in the presence of allergens in your home?
It’s Not Your AC, It’s the Allergens
You’re not actually allergic to your air conditioning system if you’re noticing a boost in allergy symptoms in your home. That said, your air conditioning unit and, more specifically, the connecting ductwork, can spread allergens in the air you breathe. Air conditioning units can also contribute to the spreading of bacteria and viruses that can combine with allergens to make you feel no-so-good.
Air contamination that includes high levels of allergens and other microorganisms can be related to any of the following symptoms or issues:
- Sneezing and coughing
- Excess fatigue
- Fever and/or dizziness
- Digestive problems
- Respiratory issues
Allergens That Can Be Spread by Your Air Conditioning System
Your air conditioning system can spread any allergens that may be in your home or brought into your home. One way this happens is you have dirty or clogged filters. Pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold and mildew, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are just some of the allergens or similar irritants that could be spread around your home with some help from your air conditioning.
Minimizing Allergens in Your Home
You’re not going to be able to keep all possible allergens out of your home. What you can do, however, is take some steps to help your air conditioning system cut down on exposure to airborne allergens. An HVAC professional from Thornton Heating and Cooling can help you with any of the following steps:
- Checking and changing your air conditioning system filters
- Cleaning air conditioning registers and vents to remove dust and other possible allergens
- Cleaning the ductwork your air conditioning system uses
- Attaching a dehumidifier to your air conditioning system to control relative humidity in your home
Consider a HEPA Air Conditioning Filter
Air conditioning air filters can also be helpful to consider HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters. These air conditioning filters are much better at removing allergens and other contaminants. HEPA filters are often recommended since they remove approximately 99 percent of airborne particles.
Don’t Forget about Your Outside Air Conditioning Unit
Allergens can also get into your home through your outside air conditioning unit. This can happen if your exterior unit is cluttered with debris. Having flowers or other plants and trees that produce allergens around your outside unit can also give allergens a way into your home via your AC unit.
Rare Skin Reactions
Allergens aren’t the only possible cause of allergy issues involving air conditioning. In some instances, people can react to the cold air produced by a cooling system when it comes into contact with their skin. This is a rare condition known as cold urticaria. It’s essentially an allergic reaction to very cold air. Protecting exposed skin and being mindful of air conditioning settings can help with this issue.
Call Our HVAC Professionals Today
Yes, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about allergens and your allergy issues. What an HVAC professional from Thornton Heating and Cooling can do is make sure your air conditioning system is clean and operating as effectively as possible. Our HVAC professionals can also check your ducts and other possible sources of allergens.
Call us today to speak to one of our HVAC professionals about regular air conditioning maintenance and upkeep.