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Does air conditioning make you ill?

You’ve likely heard that air conditioning can make you ill. Whether it’s a persistent cough following a long-haul flight, or a series of disruptive sneezes at the office, irritants such as these are notoriously blamed on the presence of air conditioning, but is air conditioning really to blame for this?

Simply put, no, air conditioning is not the direct cause of these irritants. Air conditioning units and the air they produce are not harmful. In fact, installation of an air conditioning unit can even help those of us that suffer with asthma or allergies.

Why do air conditioners make me feel ill?

Whilst it might stand true that air conditioners do not cause illness, they can enhance the presence of these ailments and irritations.

What this means is that air conditioning units can circulate allergens that are already present, which in turn can stimulate irritation. For instance, if your office is susceptible to mould spores, or in need of a thorough vacuum, the dust and bacteria present in the air can be circulated by the air conditioning unit.   

In addition to this, these bacteria and spores can thrive within your air conditioning unit, particularly if the unit is neglected and lacks proper maintenance. As air circulates over the coils in an air conditioner condensation is produced. This moisture creates the perfect environment for bacteria and mould to multiply.

Signs and symptoms

There are certain signs and symptoms that can signal the presence of bacteria, these are alike those suffered with an allergic reaction:

·      Fever

·      Fatigue

·      Headaches

·      Coughing/wheezing/sore throat

·      Nasal irritation/congestion

If your employees are suffering from any of these symptoms it could be that your air conditioner has become victim to bacteria pollution.

How do I keep my air conditioner free of bacteria?

As previously mentioned, air conditioning units can provide the perfect habitat for mould/bacteria/spores if they are not maintained correctly, but what does this mean exactly?

In order to avoid your air conditioner becoming a breeding ground for bacteria you must ensure your air conditioning unit is booked for regular maintenance.

Maintenance checks will usually include a thorough cleaning of the air conditioning filter, maybe even changing the filter. This upkeep of the filter removes any lingering bacteria and promotes clean air circulation.

Whilst these maintenance checks can be attempted by any person, we advise seeking a professional service. A qualified HVAC engineer will possess all of the necessary knowledge and equipment to provide a thorough maintenance service.

Is there anything I can do?

Remember, conducting regular maintenance will stop your air conditioning unit from harbouring any bacteria. However, ensuring the surrounding environment is free from dust, mould, mildew etc. is the best precaution you can take in avoiding further ‘sickness’ spells.

After you have cleared your environment of this harmful bacteria, you should take precautions to prevent future growth and spread of these spores.

Air conditioning maintenance

If you suspect your air conditioning unit is in need of maintenance contact Sub-Zero, we are fully qualified and wildly experienced air conditioning engineers. We can provide thorough maintenance and repair to all air conditioning units.

Contact an expert engineer today to discuss your requirements.