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Are your airconditioners filters making you sick?

When your air conditioner filter is dirty, everything past that filter in the system is dirty too (including the air you are breathing!)

According to the ACAAI, dirty air filters can be a major health hazard. Studies show that indoor air pollution caused by a dirty air filter can trigger allergic reactions and sinus congestion in those with allergies to animals, pollen and mould. An air filter can collect and harbour these allergens and allow them to circulate through homes when air conditioning is in use.

It’s common knowledge that “An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. With normal air flow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity” but did you kno that there is a HUGE health impact on not taking this simple annual check of your filters?

This excerpt was written by guest blogger MVP Air Conditioning in Tucson (USA) about the health effects of poor airconditioner hygiene you can read the whole article here. It shows a wonderful account on why it is just so important to make sure that your filters are kept clean for you and your family!

RESPIRATORY IRRITATION

The contaminants in your air can have a detrimental effect on the respiratory system. Some contaminants your AC filter works hard to filter out include:

Even individuals who don’t have allergies may sneeze when a cloud of dust rises, and these pollutants can cause irritation on a daily basis. Unfortunately, an AC filter’s efficiency decreases as it fills up, which means it’s less able to keep particles out of your AC system. Once pollutants have made their way into the ductwork, they’re free to blow throughout your entire house, exiting at registers and catapulting across the room until someone breathes them in. The irritation caused by these particles can create inflammation of the delicate membranes in the respiratory system, resulting in discomfort and hay-fever-like symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose.

AGGRAVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF RESPIRATORY CONDITIONS

In addition to irritating sensitive mucous membranes in the respiratory tract, pollutants in the air can also set off or worsen pre-existing conditions. Serious asthma attacks can be caused by pollen, mould spores, or even dust particles, depending on the individual. And these pollutants can do much more than simply trigger pre-existing conditions. For example, studies have shown that small children can be more likely to develop asthma when living in an environment with higher measurements of mould in the air. While it’s impossible to get rid of every airborne mould spore from your home (they can float in when you open the door), taking steps to reduce their number is an important step in protecting your family’s health. Keeping your home free of mould growth and keeping your air filtration system in working order are two main ways to keep mould counts down. And in addition to asthma, pollutants in the air can lead to other health conditions. High levels of exposure to irritants can cause allergies to develop, such as a mould allergy or a dust mite allergy. According to the Mayo Clinic, a mould allergy may cause cold-like symptoms including:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery, red eyes
  • Itchiness

These can be similar to the symptoms of respiratory irritation, but even more severe. Even adults who haven’t shown symptoms before can develop an allergy when high levels of a potential allergen are present in the environment.

VULNERABILITY TO HEAT-RELATED ILLNESSES

Besides allowing contaminants to permeate your AC system, a dirty filter also tends to block the progress of air due to the thick mat of dust that’s built up inside the filter. This means that your AC system has to work harder to draw air, leaving less energy left over for the actual cooling and distribution of this air. An AC system in this situation can’t cool as well or as efficiently as it could with a clean filter. It may not seem like a big deal, but the reduction in effectiveness means that your unit won’t be able to keep the temperatures down in the hot days of summer. In addition to sweatiness and discomfort, this can lead to serious problems for your family if the unit overworks itself in an attempt to keep you cool. An overworked unit can ice over (even in summer heat) or simply fail catastrophically, requiring expensive repairs and leaving your family in the lurch with no way to cool your living space. This is not only uncomfortable but also dangerous. In hot climates such as Tucson’s, heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion are a real possibility. Keeping your AC unit and system in good working order is a crucial part of protecting your family from the heat of summer.

As you can see its easy to see the health implications! Here is a great example of a filter clean we conducted, it was only 12 months before that this inlet was last cleaned!

A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system.

Here at Brisbane Electrical, we can:

  • Check for the correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat.

If you need support with your unit, Brisbane Electrical is here to support you! Contact our friendly team and keep your home, family and airconditioner in the best of health!

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