Have you been feeling sick lately? Constantly coughing or sneezing? Do you feel that stuffy, weak feeling even though you are staying indoors? Well then, you may be under threat by your own air conditioner. It may help you fight back the summer heat, but learn to fight back that harmful dirt that has been accumulated by your AC.
Air conditioning units are man’s innovation to battle with the summer heat and we tend to rely on it for comfort. But as soon as we became lazier and didn’t give importance to maintaining it, our innovation can also be a risk to our health. The filter in the air conditioner is made to clean the air that circulates through the system. The filters trap the dirt and contaminants, so it doesn’t pass through. Throughout time this dirt will accumulate and just clog the entire filter, and create clumps of dirt that may pass through. Not only that, but it also affects the performance of your air conditioner and creates health issues with everyone under the influence of that AC.
HOW DO FILTERS WORK
The filters of our home air conditioners help in preventing dust particles, particles and much more in passing through the air vent. If you have managed to clean or change the filter of your AC. you will notice that as time passes, it accumulates a lot of dust particles. Even though this component has a crucial function in maintaining our health by preventing dust from passing through, it is also the most overlooked part of the AC. Without these filters, dust particles will be blown throughout the surroundings and worse, directly at us. So how do these filters work?
The filter is a cloth-like material that is stuck on to the air conditioner’s outer cover. It uses electrostatic precipitation as the modality and filtration. The electrostatically charged fiber traps the dust particles as air passes through the filter. This results in making the household environment much cleaner.
THE HARMFUL DIRT
The large dark-brownish clump on the air conditioner’s mesh is the build-up of dirt that has been filtered throughout time. The dirt itself is comprised of dust in the surroundings, mites; some of it may be pet hair/pet dander and other particles that are in the air. These particles can interfere with some of the functions of the AC. when it gets caught within some of the components of the unit. The composition itself can cause a lot of health issues, especially allergies if these particles pass through. That’s why regular maintenance of our filters ensures the efficacy of our ACs and our own health too.
THE DANGERS OF A DIRTY AIR CONDITIONER
So what will be the outcome of having a dirty air conditioner? Although air conditioning is invented to regulate room temperatures to be comfortable to us, it is sometimes prescribed to people who are suffering from allergies or too sensitive to dust and allergens. So it is a must to maintain our air conditioners clean. Air conditioners, in general, do not cause any form of sickness, but the way it interacts with our environment might lead us to become ill.
Air conditioners become harmful when they are not maintained properly or cleaned. The sickness starts to appear when the filter becomes clogged with so much dirt and pollution in the air that it can no longer trap dust particles. A study made by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), show that a dirty air filter is the root cause of indoor air pollution. This in return can prompt allergic reactions and sinus congestions. As air filter collects and traps particles in the air of our household it may also harbor allergens and allow it to circulate in our homes. Here are some of the threats of a dirty air conditioner:
- Contaminated Air ducts. If the filter is full of debris and particles, everything that passes through it will also get contaminated; including the air that gets pumped out directly to your surroundings.
- Allergens. As the contaminants start to spread in your household, these airborne particles will be a result of allergies. Allergens are now present in the air you breathe that causes health issues.
- Poor Airflow. The particles are not just harmful to our health, but to the air conditioning unit as well. As the dust goes through the air ducts, it sometimes gets caught on the components within the air-conditioning unit, decreasing its efficiency to produce clean air.
- Inefficient Cooling. As gets trapped onto cooling coils, it allows the build-up of frost on the coils and fans that results in poor cooling.
- Expensive Power Bills. A dirty air conditioner takes up more power as it has to work up so much due to the inefficiency of some of its components caused by the build-up of dirt.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Keeping your air conditioner’s filter clean can help in avoiding the risks of having health issues with the floating dirt it brings. You just have to keep it clean every once in a while. Do this by;
- Removing the outer covering of the air conditioner’s filter to remove the cloth-like mesh that traps the dirt.
- Vacuum all of the dirt stuck onto the mesh, ensure that there are no particles left stuck onto it.
- Thoroughly wash and rinse it
- Then place the mesh back into the filter
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The best solution for this is to have your air conditioner occasionally cleaned and checked. Have the unit maintained by a professional, so he/she can suggest the best type of filter that is suited to your air conditioner. Always keep your household environment clean and neat. This will lessen the accumulation of dust particles, so it doesn’t clog up the air conditioner’s filter quickly. Schedule regular maintenance with a professional to have your air conditioner a thorough cleaning and filterchange every few months.