Air conditioning systems are a valuable way of controlling the atmosphere within workplaces and houses alike. They help to maintain a temperature that is safe, healthy and comfortable. Till the time these units are properly sustained, the advantages they offer are risk-free. However, if any of the precautions are neglected, it is possible for the system to become a potential health hazard.
What are the Dangers of a Poorly Maintained Unit?
One of the biggest side effects of a badly maintained air conditioning unit is that it has the ability to spread disease causing microorganisms through air circulation. Since most houses and offices have central air conditioning, any such health hazard is spread effectively throughout the area. Contaminants and pollutants inside the system contribute to a number of health problems like:
- Sore throat and coughing
- Wheezing and congestion
- Flu-like illnesses
- Nose, eye and throat irritation
Such issues often pop up because of poor cleaning leading to dirt, dust, and other allergic particles being carried around by circulating air. When viruses, bacteria, or fungi contaminate the air conditioning system, dangers can become more severe. A variety of illnesses can be spread or caused by lack of maintenance. Perhaps the most common disease that is spread due to problems with the A/C is Legionnaire’s disease.
The Legionella bacteria develops in temperatures between seventy to hundred Fahrenheit, making the moist, warm climate inside the A/C units an ideal ground for breeding. This disease is basically a kind of pneumonia with signs such as body aches, headache, nausea, high fever and chest pains. If not treated on time, Legionnaire can cause permanent mental or physical damage to the body. If the fever is not reduced and antibodies are ineffective, death can also occur.
The best way of avoiding these dangers is to ensure that your system is regularly checked, well-maintained, and kept clean. Regular cleaning, particularly around outlets and intakes, is the best way to avoid problems related to asthma or allergies. Outlets and intakes are not just the easiest areas to reach, but also where allergens and dust tends to collect most. Simply averting dust build-up can go a long way in preventing the hazards.
This also involves not letting your unit sit idle. Water must keep flowing through the unit rather than keeping it stagnant, because still water gives a chance for disease-causing agents to multiply. It is also advised to keep the water at a temperature that does not allow legionella and other organisms to thrive. This means keeping the element above 140 Fahrenheit or 60 degrees centigrade, or cooling it to less than 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees centigrade.
Maintaining an A/C unit regularly can help in reducing health risks to a great extent. Speak to a HVAC professional for details on ways to conserve your air conditioning system. Given how easy it is to have a system cleaned, it’s a very small price to pay to guard it against health issues. The effectiveness and quality of the air conditioner filters and the health of your family are very strongly connected. Hence, it is also recommended to go for a more systematic, professional cleaning to ensure that proper hygiene is maintained at all times. One of the best ways to find out about HVAC experts is to look online. The internet offers a plethora of options for you to choose from.