When you go into an allergist’s office, one of the first questions they’ll ask you is what kind of AC unit you have in your household. While it may seem unrelated — after all, of the homes in the United States, two-thirds of them have air conditioners — an AC unit can actually have a surprising effect on your health and not just as an allergy irritant.
For those homeowners with small children, Pinkeye is one of the most contagious illnesses and possibly one of the most frustrating to treat. After all, no child likes eye drops. However, it may not just be your child’s kindergarten class that has sent your child home with a pink and irritated eye. Your AC unit can actually pollute the air of your household with dust mites and dander from animals, which can irritate the eyes of your child and turn them pink.
The dander brought into the air of the household by the AC unit may also irritate your child’s eyes if they suffer from any animal allergens such as dogs or cats which may live nearby.
AC units can also aggravate the tear ducts of those homeowners suffering from chronic or occasional dry eye. Because AC units blow cool air into the room the outside, the air can actually increase tear evaporation from a sufferer’s eyes and induce symptoms.
While AC units can often irritate the eyes, they also have the possibility of irritating the lungs. A lung irritation caused by an AC unit may be the case if a patient experiencing asthmatic symptoms has tested negative for asthma during a breathing test. Air conditioners can have dehumidifying effects on the rooms they’re in because they work by lowering the ambient temperature in the room via withdrawing humidity. This can cause the mucus lining of your nose, which keeps pathogens and viruses from entering your body, to dry out therefore lowering your immune defense and increasing the probability of respiratory illness.
However, it’s not always the air conditioning unit’s fault for causing illness. Much of what causes an AC unit to irritate the eyes, nose, and lungs can be avoided by the use of proper air conditioning maintenance.
In order to keep your air conditioner from releasing allergens such as dander and dust into the air, routinely clean your air conditioner’s fans and filters. While you may not be able to rid your home of all allergens, it can certainly make a difference the same way a vacuuming can make a difference for those allergic to dogs.
Keep an eye out for leaks as well. Air conditioners and HVAC systems utilize refrigerants to keep rooms cool and if the refrigerant is low there’s a good chance it may be caused by a leak which may be dangerous if your unit uses chlorofluorocarbon as they cause damage to the environment and the earth’s ozone layer. If you believe your air conditioning unit may be leaking these dangerous chemicals, contact an air conditioning service for AC unit repair as soon as possible.
Having an older air conditioning unit may require an increased need in AC unit repair in order to avoid dangerous leaks in refrigerant and overheating. Therefore, if your air conditioner is older than ten to fifteen years, consider AC unit repair as a necessary option or contacting an air conditioning company for a new and improved unit.