We might take air conditioning for granted these days. Or, we might just think of its’ benefits only on a hot, humid Carolina summer day when it’s very refreshing to come inside to a cool house. We probably don’t think much about how an AC system helps or harms our health, but it can have many important effects.
There are important health benefits to having functioning, efficient AC, and in fact a complete HVAC system. Knowing a little more about air conditioning and the indoor air quality of your home or office may have health consequences along with the nice, cool feeling on a 90-degree day.
How an AC System Helps Your Health
Helping vs. the Heat
Staying cool in very bad summer conditions is a major way of cutting heat-related illnesses, strokes and fatalities. This is backed up by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and more health organizations.
Better Indoor Air Quality
Air conditioning and HVAC systems overall are designed to move, circulate and filter air which winds up in the rooms of a house or building. The airflow and filtration removes pollutants, contaminants, mold and allergens from air. This functioning is very critical for people with allergies or other conditions. Everyone’s respiratory or internal health can be affected with dirty or poor indoor environments.
You’re spending hours at a time sleeping inside your home, in your home’s air. A bedroom which is too hot or too cool messes with your sleep habits and quality of sleep. Doctors say a human body’s natural temperature regulation functions at its best in a environment of 65-75 degrees. Poor sleep can be caused by the temperature, air cleanliness, a higher heart rate and other variables. Then, poor sleep can cause many negative health consequences.
Stopping Insects and Parasites
HVAC systems should stop insects and other living contaminants more effectively than needing to open windows, or a poorly maintained HVAC or AC system. This is more than just an annoyance. Bugs, parasites, bacteria and allergens can cause many different symptoms or problems. This can also help pet health because it limits fleas and ticks.
When it’s too hot and humid, we’re thinking about how to survive the conditions more than school, or work, or other priorities, even other health matters. In an office or business, employees will be more productive, and in better health overall, in a good indoor environment.
Our bodies and brains may directly be harmed by extreme heat or poor air environments. When it’s hotter and more uncomfortable, there’s a tendency for worse tempers and worse personal behavior. There are natural reasons for this. In an uncomfortable climate, we instinctually have changed heart rates, blood pressure and behavior traits. With too much heat, we might experience stress and behavior differences at home or at work and it’s in part due to the heat.
Safer Furniture and Surfaces
Heat and humidity can cause stuff to stay and grow on furniture, wood, leather and other home surfaces. This isn’t just gross or costly, it can be a true health issue. Wood can absorb or lose moisture in such an environment. Leather can absorb and hold moisture in high humidity. Any material with more moisture, then in a warmer space for lengthy spans of time, can be a place for mold growth.
Safety in Your Home
This might seem a little indirect, but it’s still a real impact. If you need to have windows open, it’s leaving your house a little more open and susceptible. You may need to leave windows open overnight. You may accidently leave windows or doors unlocked when you leave. This could be an added thing to always keep in mind, or be stressed over, for everyone in your family.
Potential Downsides of AC
While air conditioning is an important, for some even critical, system in a home. There are some situations or issues to remember about how AC, or a poorly maintained AC, can be a negative to health and wellbeing.
HVAC systems should be serviced and cleaned properly on the correct schedule. Pollutants and contaminants can enter in a dirty or failing system, get into your home, and cause health problems. It’s possible for a well-maintained AC to cause health issues for some people, causing symptoms or feelings such as headaches, fatigue, and other illnesses.
Spending too much time in an air conditioned space may cause headaches. Much of the time, this is actually dehydration, which then leads to headaches. It is possible to spend too much time in the AC, or have the AC turned too cold for too long. You feel cool, so don’t drink water as you should, especially during the summer. Cold air has been known to cause “slight brain freeze” or an affect on blood vessels in the brain which manifests as headaches, pain and other symptoms.
One good suggestion at night with AC and sleep is to drink water before bed. Sleeping through AC for hours and being slightly or more dehydrated can cause poor sleep, discomfort and a tougher following day than you deserve.
Poor air quality or badly-kept HVAC systems can make a home environment constantly dirty. This has a wide range of health consequences. Eyesight and eye health is one area you might not think about. Pink eye, eyelid inflammation, dryness and proper tear functioning are all potential results from being in a dirty indoor environment.
It’s best to not run the AC steadily for hours at a time. Even on the hottest days, your AC should cycle on and off. Also, even on a hot day, taking a couple short breaks outside is healthy for your eyes and whole body.
At South End Heating and Air we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.