Why Your A/C System Makes You Cough

The Battle For Cleaner Home Air

home air quality long islandHave you ever turned on your central air conditioner and suddenly found yourself coughing or sneezing? It’s not your imagination: it could be allergies, and your air conditioner could be making the situation worse.

Air conditioners don’t make allergens, but they do move air – and that air could contain contaminants that are triggering your allergies. If you consistently experience symptoms when you turn on your cooling system, allergens are more than likely the culprit.

Common Household Contaminants And Solutions

Here are some of the allergens and other contaminants you’re likely to encounter in your indoor air, and what you can do to address them.

  • Pollen – Pollen comes from plants and can get inside through open doors and windows and on shoes or other clothing. An effective way to decrease indoor levels of pollen is to keep windows and doors closed, especially on high pollen days, and to remove outer layers of clothing upon entering your living space.
  • Dust mites – These microscopic arthropods make their homes in places where dead skin cells accumulate, such as on bedding, furniture, and carpeting. They like to reproduce in warm, damp conditions, like what you’ll find in your HVAC ducts. Besides reducing dust in your home, one of the best ways to control dust mites is to keep humidity at healthy levels (in the 40 to 50 percent range).
  • Pet dander – The proteins in pet dander cause strong allergic reactions in some people. Once dander is airborne, your AC unit can circulate it throughout your home. Minimize dander by washing and grooming your pets regularly, and by changing your HVAC filters often.
  • Mold and mildew – Your air conditioning unit may be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which thrive in damp environments. A damp cooling coil, humidifier, or condensate pan can turn into a hub for mold or mildew problem, so pay attention to those trouble spots.
  • Bacteria and viruses – People, animals, and plants and plant debris can carry bacteria or viruses into the home, and some viruses can be transmitted through the air. Airborne bacteria and viruses include influenza, measles, chickenpox, legionella, and staphylococcus. Air purifiers, including UV lamps, can be effective against these microorganisms.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – VOCs are the result of chemical off-gassing from a range of products including household cleaning and construction supplies and furniture and décor items. Your air conditioning unit can circulate these toxic gasses, especially if you clean your AC with VOC-containing products. Make good choices on your cleaning and construction materials, selecting low-VOC versions where possible.

Routine A/C Maintenance: An Ally In The Battle Against Allergies

One of the best ways to battle allergies in your indoor air is to keep your air conditioner running at its best. A well-maintained HVAC system will improve airflow and discourage the build-up of allergens and microorganisms in your system – particularly if you install indoor air quality equipment to lend a hand.

In short: keep your air conditioner running it well and you’ll breathe easier at night – literally!

Breathe easier with expert air conditioning maintenance and indoor air quality solutions from the pros at Burt’s Reliable. Contact us today to schedule A/C maintenance in the North Fork and East End of LI!