Air conditioning affects on health are overwhelmingly positive. Before residential air conditioning became widespread (today, over 85% of American homes have A/C) persons frequently became ill or died due to excessive indoor temperatures during summer heat waves. Extreme heat is especially dangerous for infants and young children as well as elderly persons. With widespread use of air conditioning, home comfort not only improved, but safety and health have also benefitted.
Here are some more of the air conditioning affects on health—both positive and a few potentially negative—and your indoor environment.
- Humidity control. Indoor relative humidity above 60% can trigger toxic mold growth and supports many types of bacteria, airborne and on surfaces. Dry air cools more efficiently. Therefore, as part of the air conditioning process, water vapor is extracted from the air by the system evaporator coil. This keeps indoor humidity levels in the healthy zone below 60%.
- Particulate reduction. Inert airborne particles like dust, lint and others cause irritation as well as allergic responses when inhaled. As the air conditioner continuously re-circulates air through the ductwork, the system air filter removes airborne particles and keeps indoor air healthier.
- Mold contamination. Certain air conditioner components are wet or moist and may present an opportunity for mold growth. Specifically, this includes the indoor evaporator coil that extracts humidity from the air and the condensate drain pan beneath the air handler that collects water and conveys it into a drain. Annual preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC contractor includes inspection of these components as well as cleaning and disinfection, if required, to eliminate the potential for mold growth.
- Filter issues. A dirty air filter that hasn’t been changed regularly may collect bacteria, microbes and spores that flourish in the filter media. These pathogens may infect the system airflow. Change the air filter monthly to ensure clean indoor air quality. If you don’t know how, an HVAC service tech will be happy to demonstrate.
For more about air conditioning affects on health and how to ensure your system supports optimum indoor air quality, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.