Is your Air Conditioner making you sick?

temperature

On days like today where the North reached a scorching 45 degrees it’s nearly impossible to not have your air conditioning running in your home. Now that the smoke from the Northern forest fires have relatively cleared it’s a lot safer to have them running in your homes. Certain air conditioners often vent in from inside, so if you have one of them then you may have had it unplugged while the smoke was thick and the air quality levels were higher then normal.

No matter how clean your home or office environment is, there are countless unseen pollutants assaulting your senses. These toxic elements often go under the radar since they’re not seen and their effects are usually associated with other causes or conditions.  But if you have two or more of the symptoms listed above, chances are these toxic pollutants are running rampant in your home. If you have any multiple combination of these symptoms, it’s very likely directly linked to your central AC unit.

If you have any multiple combination of these symptoms, it could potentially be linked to your central AC unit.

  • Frequent colds
  • Stomach pains
  • Ear infections
  • Frequent headaches
  • Allergic reactions
  • Asthma
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy skin
  • Sore nasal passages
  • Irritated throat
  • Watery eyes/dry eyes
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Skin care problems

So what’s making you sick?

There are two main causes for sickness associated with air conditioners: unnatural coldness and mold.  Unnatural coldness, low cooling temperatures, often lead to illness and are relatively easy to control.  The other cause, mold, is a notorious infiltrator that is nearly impossible to get rid of once its settled in your home.

Unnatural Coldness: A runny nose, watery eyes, and other basic flu-like symptoms, are our body’s own natural response to unnatural coldness – but it isn’t just a matter of temperature.  Centrally air conditioned air is usually very dry since the units do not come with a humidifier function.  This causes the delicate lining of the nose and mouth to become cracked and dry, leading to nose bleeds and causing the body to overcompensate with excess fluid production.

Mold:  Molds are microscopic fungi in the same fungal family as mushrooms and yeasts. Highly adaptive, fungi grow and reproduce rapidly, breaking out in trail of expanding circular patches known as mold spores.  Mold occurs in any damp organic environment.  You’ve probably seen mold on spoiled food, on pieces of decayed wood, wet windowsills, or on papers and fabrics stored in a damp musty place.

With discovering over 270 species of mold, and with a difference between indoor and outdoor mold, there are a number of health risks associated with this contaminant.  Several factors have to be evaluated in order to weigh the magnitude of health hazards associated with this toxic invader.  These include:

  • Type of mold

  • Amount and degree of exposure

  • Health conditions of the person inhabiting the home

Based on these factors, a person living in a moldy environment can have health problems ranging from allergies to serious illness.  And as with any disease or compromised environment, pregnant women, infants, young children, the elderly, and those with significant health problems (especially respiratory diseases and/or weakened immune systems), are far more at risk if exposed to mold.

Mold inside your air conditioner

The most dangerous type of mold is the kind that’s hidden.  Going unseen and undetected, it spreads rapidly throughout your room, exposing you and your family to countless health problems.  If you do detect slight mold, at either mild to low moderate levels, you can remove it through thorough cleaning, exposure to sunlight, and through proper ventilation.

However, detecting and removing mold is far trickier with central air conditioning systems. Most people aren’t even aware that mold can and probably is inside your air ducts and vents. If you have several of the symptoms listed above, but are confident that your home doesn’t have mold, chances are it may be hidden in your central AC system. Aircon systems are one of the main mold producing appliances because they are a highly suitable environment for fungus.  The high density of moisture and dust makes this a perfect breeding ground.

If you’ve ever cleaned your filter, you were probably surprised by how dirty it was.  Now imagine air conditioner ducts and vents that you aren’t able to look into.  You’d be surprised by how dirty the return duct is – dirt, pet hair, drywall dust, all clumped together and funneled through air ducts, vents, and straight to your lungs.  If you take into consideration that the vents in each room may not be sealed well, it is very likely that what’s in your ducts is getting blown out into your living space, all over your hair and skin, your food, your bed sheets, your makeup and hygiene products.  With such scary stats, it’s no surprise that the number of people with Legionnaires Disease has gone up – a nasty flu-like bacteria that thrives in AC systems.

This unseen assault on your health takes an additional toll if you take account the time you spend listless from being ill, including missed days of work, money lost – all of which could be prevented.

What you can do

Ventilate your space: Crack open a window and let some fresh air come through. Keep in mind that opening a couple window for cross-ventilation is very different from switching on a fan.  While using a fan is a great idea for helping prevent mold, it’s not ideal for getting rid of mold.  Once mold has set in, fans only ensure that the mold problem gets circulated faster and into more crevasses and cracks – making the problem impossible to spot till it’s too late.

Clean your filter: Air conditioner filters were designed and installed to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.  However, as they collect these specimen, filters themselves can inadvertently become hosts to bacteria.  Pollutants build up and get caught in the filter so that as air blows on it, they disperse from the filter and into the air you breathe. If you believe that your air conditioner could be the reason you have a mold problem don’t hesitate to call today!

Keep in mind

Having your air conditioner on and knowing that it is contaminated with mold is only spreading mold throughout your home as it is blowing the spores throughout the home. If the mold inside the air conditioner is too far gone, you may wish to consider purchasing a new unit instead. Most mold remediation companies and air conditioning repair specialists don’t do mold removal on AC units. If you think you have a mold problem in your home now due to your air conditioner don’t hesitate to call today! 1-888-909-6653

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About got mold?™

got mold?™ is a locally owned and operated Canadian company with over 25 years of combined experience in the disaster restoration industry. A Message from the President Mold is a growing concern. To continue to thrive as a business over the next ten years and beyond, we must look far ahead, understand the ever changing world and power in order to structure our business in the future and maneuver in such a way that will allow us to anticipate challenges we face throughout our journey, enabling us to continue operating as a world class company employing great people for continued success. Our Mission Find & fix sources of unhealthy indoor air Our Vision Healthy indoor air Our Core Values Dependable - We make commitments and meet them Resourceful - We find a way or make one Knowledgeable - We are certified and constantly learning Productive - We get it done right ASAP Trustworthy - We have a great reputation Loyal - We are proud of our company and its values Ethical - We don’t compromise our values and we don’t cut corners Respectful - We care about people, property and good stewardship of money All this while maintaining the utmost in health & safety standards. Indoor air quality specialists, we are experts in mold testing, removal and remediation; fire and flood damage restoration; indoor air quality testing; asbestos surveying, asbestos testing, sampling and abatement.