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Can your AC make you sick?

June 26, 2019

Record levels of rain and early warmth have let to an explosion of pollen in the mid-Atlantic states, with Virginia right in the middle of the high pollen zone. With spring and summer allergies in full force in the Shenandoah Valley, it’s easy to blame the outdoors for your wheezing, runny nose and watery eyes. However, your central air conditioning may be causing some of these and other unhealthy symptoms.

If your allergy symptoms persist inside your home, indoor air quality (IAQ) inside your house could be the culprit.

Poor Indoor Air Quality Can Affect Your Health

Think about it: most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, with the majority of that at home. Indoor air can hide contaminants including dust, allergens, germs, household chemicals, excess moisture, mold and combustibles like smoke and gases from heating and cooking. These contaminants can create all kinds of problems, including:

  • Increased respiratory, allergy & asthma symptoms
  • Increased risk of illness
  • Musty & unpleasant indoor odors
  • Moisture damage to your home’s structure and insulation

How Can Air Conditioning Contribute to Poor IAQ?

Air conditioning is designed to distribute cool, dry and filtered air throughout your home. Because it circulates air through your home, your AC can cause problems that could affect your health. If you suspect your home may have an indoor air quality issue, the AC experts at Excel Heating and Cooling can identify causes and offer solutions to improve your home’s indoor air health. Here are some ways that your central air could impact your home’s healthy indoor air.

Leaky Ductwork

One cause of poor indoor air quality is leaky ductwork. It not only wastes energy, but small gaps in your ductwork could allow contaminants from attic or crawl spaces to seep inside the air ducts, where they are circulated throughout your home. As part of an indoor air quality home review, your Excel AC technician may perform a ductwork evaluation to pinpoint potential leaks, and incorrectly fitted or sized ducts.

Ineffective Moisture Removal

Your air conditioner has two primary functions: cooling air and removing moisture. If the humidity levels are too high, then moisture and dampness can build up and cause problems inside your home. If your AC isn’t effectively removing moisture, it may need attention.

Improperly Sized Central AIr

Here’s a case where bigger is not better! If your central air is too large for your home, it will switch on and off too quickly. Right-sized central AC will operate longer run cycles to effectively remove moisture and humidity from the air.

Inadequate  Home Ventilation

With today’s tightly sealed, energy efficient homes it’s even more important to have the right amount of ventilation. Many homes rely on kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, but often that’s not enough to maintain healthy IAQ. Adding a whole house energy recovery ventilation unit (ERV) can ensure the right amount of fresh outdoor air is circulating inside your home. ERVs are air exchangers that remove humidity and circulate fresh outside air throughout your home.

Dirty AC Filters

Yes, your AC has a filtration system to capture contaminants before circulating cooled air through your home. Yet even though they’re easily replaced, central air filters are not as effective as you’d think. These filters may still allow smaller particulate matter and other pollutants to pass through and contaminate your indoor air. That said, it’s always a good idea to replace dirty AC filters.

One Smart Solution for IAQ: Air Purification

For some families, respiratory conditions and health concerns require more complete air purification and filtration solutions. As a Lennox Premier Dealer, Excel Heating and Cooling offers Lennox air filtration systems that work seamlessly within your existing cooling and heating system. Another indoor air quality improvement is the UV-C Light air purification system that uses activated carbon and award-winning technology to help your family breathe easier. With the humidity fluctuations we experience in Virginia, we also offer humidifying and dehumidifying solutions to improve your home’s comfort year round.

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