Posted on: November 9, 2016
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Air Conditioning
As the summer heats up, air conditioners will be cranking up to full blast in office buildings and homes to keep people cool. They provide welcome relief from sweltering weather and an obvious solution to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths. But AC systems themselves can lead to health problems if not cleaned and maintained properly.
If you’re considering buying air conditioning units, need guidance on the best types of units, or if you want to have a discussion with professional air conditioning installers on the best ways to cool your premises.
Pro: Reducing heat stroke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death,” a problem that claims hundreds of lives in the U.S. each year. People who are most vulnerable to heat-related illness are children under the age of 4, adults over the age of 65, people who are overweight and those who are sick or on certain medications.
To help reduce the risk, doctors recommended drinking lots of water during the summer and staying in air conditioned areas during the hottest part of the day.
Con: Bacteria, mold, and fungus
Air conditioners can be a breeding ground for the growth of bacteria and fungus. Moisture can accumulate in the coils and fan blades from condensation that forms when cold air circulates through the appliance. If left unchecked, things like mold and fungus can build up and get blown out into the air.
These microorganisms can lead to a number of breathing problems including pneumonia and Legionnaire’s disease, a severe inflammation of the lungs caused by bacteria known as legionella.
Pro: Easing allergies and asthma
For people with allergies or asthma, research shows that air conditioning can help ward off attacks. According to the Mayo Clinic, air conditioning can help filter out airborne pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds to keep it from circulating indoors. Air conditioners also lower indoor humidity, which decreases the growth of dust mites and mold.
Con: Sick building syndrome
Air conditioners can contribute to sick building syndrome, a variety of conditions that are brought on by time spent in certain indoor environments. Symptoms may include dizziness, dry throat, itchy eyes and nausea. A study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that “air conditioned buildings generally have a higher prevalence of symptomatic workers than naturally ventilated buildings.” One small study found that HEPA and carbon air filtration systems may help reduce symptoms and improve productivity.
So what are the benefits of air-conditioners?
- Extreme heat has a clear negative impact on the intellect and on physical activity and the use of air conditioning can go some way to rectifying this.
- It improves comfort levels at school.
- It improves school performance.
- It can result in increased physical and intellectual activity.
- A lower temperature reduces the presence of insects and parasites.
- Lower temperatures mean less sweating, reducing the risk of dehydration.
- A clean air conditioning system helps exclude external allergens such as pollens.
- If the air conditioning installation is good, and if it is well maintained, it renews and improves air quality.
- Sudden changes in temperature and humidity affect the respiratory system.
- It has a drying effect on skin and mucous membranes.
- It adds to ambient noise, contributing to noise pollution.
- The air circulation can transmit infectious respiratory diseases more quickly than without an air-conditioner.
- Air conditioning is associated with chronic rhinitis, throat irritation and hoarseness.
- Air conditioning can exacerbate eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, as well as causing problems for contact lens wearers.
Air Conditioner: Clean air advice
To ensure that your air conditioner keeps you cool and healthy this summer, make sure you regularly clean or change your air filter. Check that exhaust fans are working properly. And never store paints, cleaners, or other chemicals near your air conditioning, heating or ventilation system, as it can spread dangerous fumes throughout the house. Call (713) 812-7070 us for your home service and repair needs.
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