Can Your Air Conditioner Give You a Sore Throat?
It’s easy to take central cooling for granted—especially after some of the recent heat waves in Sacramento. Far too often, we see homeowners neglect their air conditioner until something goes wrong or they start to feel unwell. If you’re wondering can your air conditioner give you a sore throat, the answer is yes.
For those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and any other sinus problems, a dirty air conditioner can make these problems worse. The good news is that an air conditioner usually won’t cause a lot of health problems, but for some it can be an issue.
A big reason why your air conditioner can give you a sore throat is because of improper installation. This happens when an HVAC installer chooses the wrong location for your system.
HVAC equipment that is exposed to a lot of UV rays, or installed in a place without a lot of insulation can degrade faster. Another problem we’ve seen are units installed close to an area with a lot of mold growth. Mold spores can get into your system, and by proxy, in the air you breathe.
The final big issue with improper installation is lack of air flow. Your HVAC system could be installed in a place where it doesn’t get a gust of much needed fresh air every so often.
With enough time and use, any residential ductwork will show signs of wear and tear. Whether it’s a gaping hole or a small crack, any opening can allow dust and other particles to mingle freely with your treated and cleaned air and recirculate back into your home.
Lack of AC Maintenance
Any air that goes in and out of your HVAC system is recycled. Your HVAC system is constantly pulling air from inside your home, temperature treating it, and then releasing that same air back into the house. With a system like this, routine maintenance is important.
Despite this, we see way too many customers neglect basic AC maintenance. One of the best things you can do for your HVAC system, and your health, is to schedule regular tune-ups.
Perhaps the biggest contributor to AC induced sore throats is a dirty air filter. The air filter in your furnace plays two very big roles.
First, the air filter helps clean your system. When too much dust and other buildup gets into your HVAC system, it can do things like clog burners, lines, and cause damage to sensitive parts. An air filter helps remove any dust or dander that can lead to these issues.
An air filter’s second, and maybe more important, job is to clean the air that is recycled in your home. All air must pass through the air filter. While most air filters can only trap dust, dander, and large particles, some air filters are made to catch the molecules found in viruses and bacteria.
When an air filter is too full, it can’t preform either of these tasks well. Instead, you’re left breathing in air full of dust, dander, outdoor pollutants, and other allergens.
Closed Vent Control
There’s a common misconception that closed vents mean cleaner air. The opposite is true. For healthy, clean air you want to keep the vents open to fresh air. If you can’t open the vents, simply open a few windows.
We mentioned above that all your indoor air is recycled through the HVAC system. When you allow the same air to be cycled over and over again, it gets stale. Even with the strongest air filter, stale air can be a breeding ground for infections.
Opening the window or vent can do wonders for your home’s air quality. Fresh air can clear your lungs, help give you energy, lower blood pressure, and even improve digestion.
What You Can do to Combat an AC Induced Sore Throat
When you know your AC is to blame, there are a few things you can do to combat a sore throat. Here are some tried and true methods:
- Schedule Regular Tune-Ups: If you don’t, you should be scheduling two HVAC tune-ups per year. Once in the spring before AC season and once in the fall before furnace season.During one of our tune-ups, a Bell Brothers technician will clean your system from to bottom, ensuring no dust, debris, or backup is in your system.
- Routinely Check the Air Filter: We talked about this above, but a dirty air filter can’t effectively trap dust and dander. Instead, all that debris can be circulating in your home’s air.
- Keep Yourself Hydrated: Most air conditioners can pull moisture from your air. To combat this, make sure you’re staying hydrated while at home.
- Frequently Dust and Vacuum: There are certain environments that allow for dust. To combat this, dust and vacuum your home at least once every week.
When the Air Conditioner Isn’t to Blame
Sometimes, it’s not your HVAC system that’s causing the sore throat. It could be the outside environment, or another factor.
We talked about staying hydrated, but if your home is too dry, it’s time to invest in a humidifier. This will help restore a healthy amount of moisture in the air and may git rid of that sore throat.
To schedule your own AC tune-up, or if you want to know if your air conditioner can be giving you a sore throat, call the number at the top of the screen or click here to request an appointment online.