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Is Air Conditioning Good or Bad for People with Allergies?

In the Pacific Northwest, we know once spring has sprung, seasonal allergies abound. In fact, the top five cities for allergies in the U.S. are in Oregon. It’s no wonder that our residential HVAC customers in Portland have questions about the role air conditioning plays during allergy season. 

The main question we receive this time of year is, “Is AC healthy for allergy sufferers”? The short answer is yes, but a neglected HVAC unit can cause problems. If you are looking for answers on how to get relief, our heating and cooling contractors share all you need to know.

Is air conditioning bad for you?

Is Air Conditioning Bad for You?

Some people have heard that air conditioning can be problematic for allergy sufferers. However, in truth, AC units can make a big difference in reducing allergy symptoms and curbing irritants. Both residential and commercial HVAC systems utilize air filtration, which traps particles of allergy-inducing elements. 

While we often associate allergies, in general, with seasonal triggers like pollen, other air pollutants can contribute to allergic reactions. For example:

  • Pet dander and dust
  • Mold and mildew
  • Dirt and debris 

Because air conditioning units help filter the air in your space, they can remove the most common allergens found in homes and offices, and provide additional benefits.

Are There Health Benefits of Air Conditioning?

Health benefits of air conditioning: improved air quality & lowered humidity levels

We all appreciate the cooing effects of AC, but in addition to climate control, these units provide two primary ways to combat allergies:

  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: It may surprise some people to know that air conditioning units can play a significant role in enhanced indoor air quality for your home or business. High IAQ is essential to not only control allergies but also mitigate against other health issues like “sick building syndrome.” Air filters, an integral part of your HVAC system, catch most air pollutants before recirculating air back into the rooms. This means enhanced air quality. 
  • Lowered Humidity Levels: Mold and mildew thrive in moist, damp environments. If you have an allergy to these types of fungi, you’ll need to address humidity levels to alleviate symptoms. A well-maintained air conditioner draws water vapor from the air during the cooling process, which reduces overall humidity levels. Have questions? Schedule a consultation with one of our Portland HVAC installers to see if a whole humidity system would be of benefit. 

Will Air Conditioning Can Make You Sick Under Certain Circumstances?

There are instances when air conditioning units can contribute to poor air quality, leading to allergy symptoms. However, it’s rarely the cooling system’s fault and has more to do with improper care. If maintenance on HVAC units is neglected, the above benefits are reduced or even reversed. 

If your air filter is clogged, particles can build up and get recirculated throughout the air. If humidity isn’t dealt with, or if there are leaks or issues with your duct system, mold and mildew can take over. Also, if your unit is over 10-15 years old, it could be reaching the end of its life cycle, which can affect performance.

How to Prevent Problems 

Our local HVAC contractors in Portland recommend the following to help allergy-proof your heating and cooling system:

  • Clean and service your air condition unit regularly.
  • Change air filters every three months or based on the recommendation of your HVAC technician.
  • Invest in high-quality air filters. Our sales team can recommend options for both home and office
  • Have your commercial and residential duct systems inspected and cleaned regularly. 
  • Have a NATE-Certified technician inspect and maintain your entire HVAC system annually.
  • Replace your AC unit if it is older than a decade.

Commercial and Residential HVAC Services in Portland

At AAA Heating and Cooling, we are here to help you combat allergies and improve indoor air quality. Our professional technicians can develop a maintenance plan for your current unit, recommend upgrades, and perform thorough inspections. Contact us to schedule your appointment today. Experiencing an emergency? We provide 24-hour emergency service and repair.