Home Central Air Conditioning Health Risks

Is AC Dangerous to Your Health?

ventfanHome central air conditioning offers great relief from heat and humidity, but there are also reasons to use it sparingly or not at all. The most obvious reasons some may choose not to use central air conditioning are to save electricity, money and the environment. Using air conditioning less frequently increases the health of your finances and protects the environment. Just turning up the temperature of your system by 1 degree can cut your power bill up to 10 percent in a year.

Switching to an electric fan can also cut your power bill by up to 90 percent. It also reduces the amount of fossil fuels burnt to produce energy and the volume of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, which are released during the burning process. Global climate change is attributed to increased volumes of greenhouse gases according to various studies. But there are other serious health risks that home central air conditioning may expose you to.

Risk #1: Nasal Congestion/Infection

Moisture that evaporates from the lining of the nose warms and humidifies the air that the nose inhales. The lining of the nose becomes irritated and inflamed and produces more mucus when suddenly exposed to cold, dry air, resulting in nasal congestion.

A cough results when the excessive mucus drips into the throat and irritates it. The sinuses are obstructed and the mucus becomes trapped. Stagnant mucus allows bacteria to grow and the increased bacteria amount may cause an infection. Nasal congestion and infection is more pronounced in people who have sensitive nose or nasal allergies such as allergic rhinitis.

Risk #2: Asthma Attack

Cold, dry air from home central air conditioning can trigger an asthma attack. When sensitive airways react to a trigger factor like cold, dry air by tightening and becoming inflamed, an asthma attack occurs. This can cause coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties.

Risk #3: Legionnaires Disease

Unfortunately, home central air conditioning systems can turn into breeding grounds for mold and bacteria. One such bacterium, Legionella, causes a type of life threatening pneumonia called Legionnaires disease. Inhaling mist from water that contains the bacteria is a way you become infected.

Risk #4: Dry, Scaly Skin

Home central air conditioning not only cools but removes moisture from the air, which can dry out your skin. Dry air absorbs moisture from the skin, which impairs the ability of the skin to act as a barrier against external irritants. Certain skin conditions may be aggravated such as dry skin, eczema and ichthyosis.

Risk #5: Dry Eyes

Excessive amounts of home central air conditioning dries out your eyes. The reduced humidity makes tears evaporate faster. The symptoms of dry eyes include eye discomfort, fatigue and blurring of vision.

Home Central Air Conditioning Risk Prevention

To prevent the risks of home central air conditioning, use a humidifier to make the air less dry. Moisturize your skin 2-3 times a day. If your eyes feel dry, use artificial tear eye drops. Take your medication regularly if you suffer from allergic rhinitis and/or asthma, to decrease the risk of irritation and symptoms. Your home central air conditioning should be serviced every 3 months and given a chemical wash or disinfected every year. 

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