The idea that air conditioning can make you ill is a common one. There are lots of stories of people talking about air conditioning sickness or suggesting that air conditioning has made them ill. However, if your air conditioning system is properly cleaned and serviced, there really isn’t any risk to your health.

But, it’s important to be informed, so you can make the right decision on air conditioning for you. This means knowing the details on whether or not air conditioning can make you sick. And, understanding the possible air conditioning sickness symptoms. So, here’s our guide on the possibility of getting sick from air conditioning.

Is there a way that air conditioning can make you sick?

The simple answer to this question is that a properly serviced and maintained air conditioning system cannot make you sick. However, like with many things, there are some ways in which air conditioning can affect your health, especially if you are not undertaking the correct maintenance or cleaning of your system.

There are two main ways that air conditioning might be detrimental to your health. The first is through not cleaning or maintaining the system, which allows bacteria to build up and then be spread as the unit spreads air around your home or space. The second is by improperly using the system to artificially lower the temperature of your home too low, for too long.

Bacteria and other contaminants

One way that air conditioning can affect your health is if the system is not properly maintained or serviced. If this happens, there is a small chance that bacteria could build up inside the unit, which can then cause illnesses. This bacteria will typically be able to build up in the water or refrigerant storage, or sometimes even in the filters of the unit. However, this is extremely rare.

This issue is more common with large commercial systems. These systems tend to use a wet system which keeps a large pool of water in reserve and uses this for heat exchange. In warm temperatures, this pool of water can encourage the growth of illness-causing bacteria. The key to stopping this from happening is servicing and cleaning of the air conditioning system.

Keeping the temperature in your home too low

This type of air conditioning sickness is extremely unusual, and there is little medical evidence to support it. However, anecdotally some people have reported a type of sickness brought on by keeping the temperatures in their home extremely low for a long period of time.

It is true that viruses which cause cold and flu do live for longer in cold and dry environments like an air-conditioned room. However, regular cleaning of the space will kill off these viruses. Some people report symptoms such as dry skin, headaches, fatigue and cold or flu-like symptoms. They suggest that these are a result of being in an extremely artificially cooled environment for an extended period of time. This could mean that having your air conditioning set extremely low, for example at below 18 degrees, for a very long time, may have negative health benefits. To avoid this, simply use your air conditioning unit to maintain a comfortable temperature within your office or home.

How to avoid air conditioning sickness

As there are two main causes of potential air conditioning sickness, there are two ways in which to lower your chances of getting sick from your air conditioning.

The first is to ensure that you have your air conditioning serviced yearly. We cannot stress enough how important this is. Servicing cleans the filters and refrigerant which are two areas in which bacteria can potentially build up. This is the only medically verified way in which your air conditioning could possibly make you sick. It’s really vital that you carry out proper maintenance on your air conditioning. D-Air Services offer a 39-point service and a full deep clean which cleans out the entire air conditioning unit. Plus, a yearly service will also help keep your system running efficiently and increase its lifespan. Find out more about why an air conditioning service is essential.

The other way to avoid air conditioning sickness is to ensure that you set your unit to a sensible temperature. This avoids any possibility of you getting any of the sicknesses or symptoms that are possibly associated with being in an environment that’s too dry or cold. We recommend that you don’t set your AC unit to below 18 degrees Celsius for a long period of time. Do be aware that there is very little medical evidence supporting these effects. However, a cold and dry environment does allow cold or flu causing bacteria to live for longer, so ensure that the cleaning regimen in your air conditioned space is adequate for your needs.

Air conditioning sickness symptoms

There are a number of reported symptoms from air conditioning sickness. Many of these are not supported by medical evidence, but these are the symptoms most often described as occurring from problems with dirty or unclean air conditioning.

The first is shortness of breath or breathing problems when the air conditioning unit is on. In many cases, these are caused by improperly cleaned or unserviced units, where the filters get clogged with pollen, dust or dirt.

Another commonly reported problem is headaches or “sick building syndrome”. This syndrome describes a situation where a number of people in a certain building have all reported symptoms without identifiable causes. This can sometimes be related to an air conditioning unit, although this is rare.

Dry skin is a symptom caused by air conditioning, as the AC naturally dries out the air in the environment. Simply applying moisturiser to any affected areas is usually enough to treat this.

There are other cold, flu or hay fever like symptoms often described as being related to air conditioning sickness. These are often due to improperly cleaned or serviced filters which no longer provide proper protection from pollen or dust.

So, now you know all the facts about air conditioning sickness. The simple answer is the medical community really don’t see air conditioning as a health risk. However, it’s important that you service your air conditioning yearly to remove any chance of the dust, pollen or bacteria building up. Simply fill out the form below to arrange your service and make sure your air conditioning is clean and safe.