Can Your Air Conditioner Be Making You Sick?

vent-on-wall-near-floorDid you know your air conditioner could be introducing particles and contaminants into your home through your ductwork?

“Wait,” you may be wondering, “isn’t that what the air filter is for—to prevent that from happening?”

Well… not quite. A clean air filter is absolutely essential to your air conditioner, but not for the reason you may think—more on that below. The fact of the matter is, without the right indoor air quality products and services in place, your indoor air quality can be worse than that of outdoors. As a matter of fact, this is true for many homes throughout Tacoma and the surrounding air. So, does this mean your air conditioner can essentially make you sick?

How Your AC Use Contributes to Poor Indoor Air Quality

It’s not so much that your air conditioner is making you sick, but rather how our homes’ construction properties and our HVAC systems work together. You see, today’s homes are built to be sealed up tightly. This helps tremendously with HVAC efficiency, since no conditioned air is able to escape from your home.

Also, in order to prevent inefficiency, homeowners like you keep your windows and doors shut during hot days while you’re running your AC—this makes sense!

So, no air is allowed to escape. That means no particles in the air is allowed to escape. Particulates, airborne contaminants, and pollutants will just circulate over and over again in your home—at least without the right products to relieve your indoor air.

Why the Standard Air Filter Won’t Help

The air filter, which we mentioned above, is in place in your HVAC system to stop larger particles from passing through—into your air conditioner. The air filter is placed in the return duct. This means that the air that’s getting pulled from your home is pulling particles along with it. This certainly doesn’t hurt your indoor air quality, but it really doesn’t help it either.

This is even more so the case if you allow that airflow to get too clogged up—the particles and allergens will have no place to go and will therefore continue circulating through your indoor air.

We recommend that you change this air filter every 1-3 months, depending on the type of filter and the level of contaminants in your air (a home with significant pet dander, for example, may need its filter changed more often than a home without). This will help your HVAC system perform at its best—but what about that indoor air quality?

The Health of Your Indoor Air

So, we’ve told you what doesn’t help indoor air quality, but what about the things that do help? People with allergies or asthma symptoms need a solution, after all. Fortunately, there are a few different products that can help.

  • UV Lights: Also called a UV air purifier, this is an excellent addition to your HVAC system. UV radiation at this level is harmless to people and pets, but helps to protect you from germs and bacteria, including mold growth and viruses. These microorganisms are killed and sterilized upon passing the UV rays, which makes the air safe.
  • Air Filtration: There are air filters on the market that are specifically designed to improve your indoor air quality. Air filtration systems have a much larger surface area than the standard HVAC filter, and something like a HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air) can remove most allergens from a living space.
  • Electronic Air Purifiers: These systems work by charging particulate in the air so that it clings to a metal plate in the system, which you’ll need to clean off every few months.

Interested in learning more about the indoor air quality products that can improve your health and quality of life? Contact Sound Heating and Air Conditioning today!

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