Do you find yourself sneezing every time you turn on the air conditioner? If you do, you’ve probably asked yourself are you allergic to air conditioning? It would seem a reasonable conclusion to make if you are suffering from what appear to be air conditioner allergy symptoms, but does such an allergy exist? Can you be allergic to air conditioning?
The answer to that question is a definite no. Even if you have a metal allergy, you shouldn’t actually be coming into contact with any metal parts of your air conditioning system that could trigger it. You could, however, be allergic to airborne contaminants that are being circulated or otherwise disturbed by your air conditioning. These may include:
Pollen allergy, also known as hayfever, can make life a misery for the sufferer. A well-maintained AC system should filter most of these allergens out of the air before pumping it into your home. Unfortunately, they can enter it in a myriad of different ways, including on shoes and clothing, and settle in the carpets and furniture. Then, when you turn on the AC, they are disturbed, triggering allergy symptoms. If you regularly clean your filters and maintain your AC yet still suffer hayfever symptoms when it’s turned on, try vacuuming and dusting more frequently.
- Mold and mildew
Mold and mildew thrive in dark, humid conditions, and a badly maintained AC system can quickly become a breeding ground for these contaminants. If your allergy symptoms appeared suddenly and are getting progressively worse, this could well be the cause. Call your maintenance service to check if this is the case and deal with the problem. We do not recommend DIY mold cleaning because if it is not done properly, the problem will reappear in a week or two.
- Pet Dander
As many as 3 out of 10 Americans are allergic to cat or dog hairs. As with pollen, your air conditioning will stir these up and circulate them through your home. If you are not willing or able to keep an intensive regime of vacuuming and dusting, you might have to consider finding a new home for your pet.
- Dust Mites
Dust mites are everywhere, which makes an allergy to them extremely distressing for the sufferer. And all the vacuuming and dusting in the world won’t help unless you clean your AC filters on a regular basis, as these are perfect dust traps where the mites will settle and then be circulated through your home when you turn on the AC.
- Bacteria and Viruses
If your system has become contaminated with bacteria or viruses, they will circulate endlessly through your ductwork, causing what has become known as “Sick Building Syndrome,” where long exposure can cause a range of symptoms such as sneezing or a runny nose without the sufferer having a clearly definable sickness.
Living in the city exposes you to all kinds of pollutants, and these will enter your living and work space. In fact, according to the federal Environment Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air can be between 2 and 5 times more polluted than outside air.
Your best protection against all these and other contaminants is to keep your air conditioner unit in a good state of repair with yearly maintenance checks and clean your filters on a regular basis — every three months is the bare minimum, and for allergy sufferers, once a month.
And remember, if you have any questions or would like to schedule a maintenance check, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Chills Air Conditioning where our professional staff is always happy to help.