A well functioning air conditioning system will add a great deal to your quality of life. Even during the most relentless heat wave, good a/c can allow you to work in comfort, relax with your family and friends or get a good night’s sleep. However, it is important to take proper care of your air conditioner to avoid any problems or malfunctions. A poorly maintained system is likely to run inefficiently, reducing its cooling effect while increasing your electricity bill ...and your carbon footprint. Even more frightening, neglect can result in a polluted – and polluting – a/c system. Fortunately all is not lost; there are solutions to this unpleasant situation.
The typical a/c system generates a fair amount of moisture inside a closed unit due to the condensation action. This may lead to the growth of biological pollutants in the air conditioner itself, including fungi (mold spores), bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, viruses and mites. Air conditioning units that are not cleaned regularly (annually before the summer begins, and every 2 months while the a/c is in frequent use) are especially susceptible to problems of this nature. When a polluted air conditioner is turned on, there may be a damp, slightly musty smell, or there may be no absolutely indication of the problem that exists.
Effects of a/c pollution
A polluted a/c system can have very serious effects on the health of the people in your home or work place. The pollutants in the a/c will literally be blown all over the room when the unit is connected. Because windows are usually kept closed when air conditioning is on, there is no source of ventilation to dissipate the pollutants’ negative effects. Human beings who breathe in this dangerous cocktail may experience a variety of health problems, such as Legionnaires’ disease, allergies, asthma and other lung problems. The immune compromised, the elderly and the very young – infants to toddlers – are the most vulnerable. Symptoms which include sneezing, wheezing, a constantly runny nose or a cough that does not go away may be your first clue that something is wrong in the atmosphere.
How to detoxify a polluted a/c
The good news is that a polluted a/c can be remedied. First of all the electric power must be safely disconnected and windows opened in the room where the a/c is located. Then the unit must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. There are cleaning products and sanitizers especially made for air conditioners on the market these days. Cleaning should be followed by a thorough rinse with water. The room should continue to be ventilated well for at least 20 minutes after the cleaning. In the future, of course, the a/c must be cleaned on a regular basis so that the pollution does not recur.