Is Your AC Unit Making You Sick?

Is an AC unit making you sick? Some people claim that they get allergic reactions, the common flu, a sore throat, dry skin, or unexplainable fatigue from their air conditioning system. Is an unmaintained AC unit the cause of these symptoms? 

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that an unmaintained AC unit can cause any health problems mentioned above. However, it is crucial to keep your AC unit clean and well-maintained to ensure its proper functioning and avoid potential health hazards.

Here are some facts.

Dirty Machine and Microbial Contamination

The actual cause of sneezing, coughing, skin rash, or allergic reaction is microbial contamination such as a virus, bacteria, fungi, or mold. These contaminants come from the open air, get stuck in the filter, and gradually accumulate. 

This is why regular filter replacement is crucial.

If you don’t replace your filter regularly, the contaminants will continue to accumulate, and eventually, they will start to cause sneezing, coughing, skin rash, or allergic reactions. 

So if you’re having any of these symptoms, it’s essential to check your filter and see if it needs to be replaced.

You’ll need to replace your filter every 3 months in most cases. But if you live in a dusty area, you may need to replace it more often.

Unfortunately, many people fail to change their AC filters regularly. Therefore, sometimes this buildup gets pushed out of the filter and released back into the room.

Dust and moisture create a fertile breeding ground for mold and other bacteria. The filters aren’t the only part of the AC unit that can accumulate dust and moisture. Moisture from the air can gather on the evaporator coils and collect dirt, dust, and bacteria. 

This same moisture that amasses on the coils ends up in the drip pan and then the condensate drain. A leaky or clogged drain can create a water backup, leading to mold and mildew.

However, there are some steps you can take to prevent these problems from affecting you or your family. First, if you have any water damage, or if you already have any mold or mildew, hire an AC professional to clean it up. 

To prevent future issues, remember to get an AC tune-up every year. This includes inspection and cleaning the evaporator coils, drip pan, and condensate drain.

Freezing Temperature and Dizziness

Some people believe that refrigerant within the AC unit or ozone is the culprit for their unexplainable headache in a room with central AC. But surprisingly, such problems are still common, even though newer AC units no longer use R-22 refrigerant or ozone technology.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery conducted a study to determine how often people experience headaches in relation to their central AC unit. The results showed that 35 percent of the participants reported having headaches, with about half of those saying their headaches were worse when they were in a room with central AC.

While the exact cause of these headaches is still unknown, there are a few theories. One theory is that the dry air produced by central AC can lead to dehydration, which can, in turn, cause headaches. Another view is that the change in temperature from the AC unit can cause muscle tension and headaches.

If you’re one of the many people who experience headaches in a room with central AC, there are a few things you can do to try to relieve your symptoms. First, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. You may also want to try using a humidifier to add moisture to the air. If your headaches are severe or don’t seem to be relieved by these measures, you may want to see a doctor to rule out other potential causes. 

According to some research by the International Journal of Epidemiology, dizziness comes from the temperature, not the machine. Some people can’t stand cold temperatures for a long time, so their brains create headaches as a sign of unwellness.

Solving this problem is easy. First, you need to increase the AC temperature on the thermostat. It is also a good idea to leave the air-conditioned room to allow your body to warm itself up for a while.

Constant AC Exposure and Heat Intolerance

Are you overly sensitive to heat when you are outside? Do you feel like you do not want to go anywhere with no air conditioning? If your answer is yes, there is a chance that you have spent too much time in an air-conditioned environment. 

If your body is exposed to a certain temperature level for too long, it gradually loses its ability to withstand hotter temperatures. Using AC is nice, but make sure to expose your skin to natural heat every day, too, so your body can learn to adapt.

Dry Air and Dry Skin

Dry skin is the most common problem people experience in a room with central AC. It makes sense because the AC works by removing heat and moisture from the air, making it colder yet dryer. Thus, your skin also loses its natural moisturizer.

But no worries, this problem is straightforward to resolve. First, you need to apply some moisturizer cream or oil to your skin to rehydrate it. Also, do not forget to drink more water to rehydrate your body from the inside.

While your AC unit benefits you by creating comfortable temperatures and cleaner air, it may also cause minor health issues if you aren’t attentive. Maintaining your AC well and taking good care of your health may help you avoid those problems. But if the problems keep occurring despite your efforts, please see your doctor for further examination.



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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