Air Conditioning And Your Health

Having a well-functioning air conditioner keeps you cool during the heat and humidity, but it can also impact your health. Many people with respiratory issues need the relief that air conditioning provides. However, a poorly maintained system can make you and your family ill. Getting your HVAC system serviced regularly can help prevent these health problems. 

Health Benefits

When the heat and humidity are high, you are unable to think clearly, which adversely affects your work performance. Unhealthy pests such as insects thrive in high temperatures as well. Air conditioning can remove those health risks as well as protect those with respiratory problems. If the air conditioning system is working properly, it removes allergens from the air and lowers the risk of dehydration. The Center for Disease Control names it as the "number one" protection against heat-caused illnesses. Air conditioning saves many people from suffering heatstroke. In all, 658 Americans die from conditions caused by heat each year. The number would be much higher without the benefit of quality HVAC systems. 

Health Dangers

Poorly maintained air conditioning can cause numerous problems. Mold and bacteria can thrive in the moisture produced by heating and cooling systems and be circulated throughout the house. These substances can exacerbate conditions such as asthma, COPD, and other respiratory conditions. In rare instances, pneumonia and Legionnaire's Disease can result from faulty systems. 


To prevent air conditioning problems, have your system professionally checked at least once a year. Your air ducts also need to be cleaned annually to keep down the level of allergens. Remember to change the air filters according to the manufacturer's recommendation. Also, take opportunities to open your windows and let fresh air in to cut down on stale, recirculated air. Consult your HVAC service professional about replacing any unit that is over ten years old. Also, if your home is particularly humid, you can improve your home's air quality by purchasing a dehumidifier to work in tandem with your air conditioning unit.

Air conditioning can help keep your family healthy as well as comfortable during the hot and humid months. However, you must maintain it properly or your unit may actually cause health problems. Do not skip annual checkups by your HVAC professional. He can identify possible mold and mildew issues as well as keep your unit clean and functioning at its highest level. You need cool, clean air circulating through your home, so take the time to regularly change your filters and to "air out" your home occasionally.