Air conditioning can play an essential role in helping prevent health-related problems associated with heat. Furthermore, it provides a peaceful sleeping environment by reducing noise pollution that could otherwise interrupt quality restful slumber.
However, switching back and forth from extreme heat to air conditioning can have detrimental health consequences; these include dry skin, dehydration, and respiratory issues.
As anyone who has used an air conditioning at home can attest, air conditioning units can be noisy. Luckily, there are ways to minimize this noise and make your home more comfortable – which is especially crucial if you sleep near an AC unit – without adequate rest due to noise interruptions, health complications can arise that will negatively impact both you and your partner.
Air conditioning noise can interrupt your restful REM stage of sleep, which is essential to maintaining good health. Furthermore, it may cause multiple awakenings throughout the night which could leave you feeling fatigued and irritable throughout your day of work and family commitments.
Cold air can have a harmful impact on your respiratory system and impair breathing, sometimes even prompting asthma attacks. Therefore, it’s essential that the air in your home remains breathable and the air quality is high even during periods of extreme heatwaves.
Your AC unit produces two distinct forms of noise: structural and airborne. Structural noise arises when your unit comes in contact with walls or other hard surfaces in your home or outside environment; to mitigate it use either foam padding under it or an sound blanket to dampen down this effect.
Airborne noise is created when sound waves hit an air conditioner’s fan blades or compressor. To reduce this type of sound pollution, sound blankets or acoustic baffles may help; these products can be purchased either online or from your AC dealer.
If your air conditioner makes too much noise, this could be an indicator that something is amiss with the machine. A leak in its ducting or compressor issues could be at fault; you should contact a professional as soon as possible to get this resolved quickly.
Plants provide a natural sound barrier by absorbing soundwaves coming through an air conditioning unit, such as from traffic noise. You don’t need to transform your house into a green jungle in order to reap this benefit; just a few plants will do. Wood also absorbs sound well; creating a tall fence around your AC is one way you could use wood as a noise mitigation material.
Air conditioning provides much-needed relief on hot days and can lower the humidity in your home, keeping you from sitting in an overly humid atmosphere. Unfortunately, if your AC system is poorly maintained or cleaned, it could also spread allergens and pollutants through the air that exacerbate respiratory ailments or allergies. Additionally, if you suffer from sensitive skin, staying in an air-conditioned environment can make your skin dry and itchy.
Air conditioning can irritate the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, prompting them to produce more mucus, which could lead to sinus congestion, runny nose, and sneezing episodes, as well as itchy and dry eyes, as well as possibly leading to rhinitis (redness or itching in the nose or nasal passages).
Humidity plays an essential role in maintaining good health, and it’s recommended that the humidity in your home fall between 40 and 50 percent. This moisture in the air helps prevent colds and other upper respiratory infections by decreasing the number of viruses and bacteria entering the body.
Dehydrated air conditioning environments can create other issues as well, including sneezing, itchy skin, and dehydration. Therefore, when in an air-conditioned space, it is advisable to drink lots of water and maintain an appropriate temperature with your air conditioner.
Spending too much time indoors under air conditioning can cause your body to lose heat acclimatisation, making it harder for you to handle high temperatures and leading to symptoms like fatigue, headaches, numbness, and nausea, impacting work productivity as well as increasing absenteeism.
Air conditioning filters that aren’t cleaned regularly can become breeding grounds for germs and bacteria that could spread throughout your home, potentially leading to illnesses in susceptible individuals. Studies have indicated that regular maintenance and cleaning of AC systems may reduce the spread of microorganisms.
Reduces allergies and asthma
Air conditioning can help protect asthmatics from pollen and other air pollutants during the summer, which can trigger respiratory allergies. By keeping outside allergens out of the home, air conditioning helps lower their chance of inducing an allergic response and decrease their likelihood of triggering an asthmatic episode. This is particularly advantageous for those struggling to breathe when exposed to environmental allergens such as pollen, animal dander, or dust mites.
Air conditioning systems not only reduce allergenic particles but can also mitigate asthma attacks by cooling the airways down during an attack and alleviating symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath. With an effective air conditioning system in place, this problem will be alleviated, leaving you to enjoy life more comfortably.
Though asthmatics might experience benefits from using an air conditioner, not everyone may. An air conditioner could even make allergies and asthma worse by extracting too much moisture from the air.
Dehydration, dry or itchy skin and respiratory issues such as a dry throat or nasal blockage are just a few possible consequences of prolonged cold exposure. Mucous membrane irritation in both the nose and throat areas, as well as a thinner protective coating against viruses and bacteria, could result.
Note: It is also important to keep in mind that air conditioning can increase exposure to harmful substances if there is poor ventilation, excessive dust, or tobacco smoke in your house. Therefore, it would be prudent to switch to panel, radiant, or hydronic heaters as alternative heating methods to ensure the quality of indoor air.
Air conditioning systems offer many benefits when properly maintained and cleaned regularly, including allergies, respiratory issues, asthma, and other health-related problems. To maximise their benefits even further, be sure to have it serviced by an HVAC specialist like Dr. HVAC when considering their installation in your home.
Reduces Sick Building Syndrome
Sicken Building Syndrome (SBS) remains unclear in its exact causes; however, it’s believed that pollutants or irritants trapped in air conditioning filters and then recirculated cause symptoms like headaches, dry coughing, fatigue, and dizziness. In some people, even sinusitis, nasal congestion, and rhinitis may occur as a result. Hospitals, offices, and schools seem particularly susceptible.
SBS symptoms typically arise after spending too much time in an air-conditioned building and will typically go away once you leave it. Though not permanent, the discomfort caused by SBS symptoms can still be uncomfortable and distracting.
Studies have linked SBS with inadequate ventilation in buildings with air conditioning systems. When ventilation standards were initially implemented, 15 cubic feet per minute of fresh air should have entered each room; however, during the oil crisis of the 1970s, these standards were reduced in order to save energy, leading to unhealthy indoor environments that caused SBS.
Poor ventilation alone cannot cause SBS; other contributing factors may include air irritants such as dust mites, pollen, dander, and mold. Air conditioners can also release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment; some of these VOCs may trigger headaches, fatigue, and nausea in people.
Another cause of SBS related to air conditioning usage is dehydration caused by low temperature settings. Dried-out skin is more vulnerable to irritation; similarly, prolonged periods spent in an air-conditioned room could result in dry eyes.
If you find that any of the symptoms of SBS have manifested themselves, turning up the heat and opening a window may help ensure fresh air circulates more freely and help create an atmosphere conducive to relaxation and comfort. Reach out to Estes Commercial now so we can improve the air quality in your Atlanta office and decrease your risk for SBS.