Homeowners are likely more focused on whether or not their air conditioning systems are producing cool air than on the air quality in their homes. Many of them might not realize that poor indoor air quality is a contributing factor to things such as allergies or a frequent need to dust surfaces. There are several ways that AC systems can negatively impact indoor air quality (IAQ). The following points highlight a few to be aware of.
Age of System
As air conditioning systems age, their performance declines. Individuals who do not seek routine maintenance services may be operating their ACs without realizing hidden dangers. Older systems lose their efficiency, and they might also have significant repair issues such as leaks, which can create the ideal environment for mold and mildew. These substances may spread quickly in warm and moisture-rich conditions.
Air conditioning systems should not emit strange odors. Sweet-smelling odors are indicative of refrigerant leaks. Sour or musty odors are signs of mold contamination. These issues can get worse if repair or maintenance services are not sought. Refrigerant leaks may lead to significant system damage and the vapors may cause poor air quality. Mold is a well-known allergen, and certain types of mold are considered toxic.
Dirty Air Filters
The air filters in HVAC systems are the first level of defense against allergens circulating in a home. Filters trap allergens, but they must be routinely changed to fulfill their purpose. A dirty filter interferes with an air conditioning system's ability to cool. They may also permit allergens to enter air ducts and cause contamination.
The ducts in homes have to be routinely cleaned. If they are not, allergens such as mold spores, dust, and pollen may get circulated throughout homes. Ducts send cooled air through air vents. Sometimes dust particles may accumulate on vents, which is an indicator of dirty ducts. Other allergens might not be evident due to their microscopic size. However, they can exacerbate allergies. In severe cases, individuals might appear to "always" be sick.
An HVAC contractor is a good resource to use to determine if a home has poor IAQ. They can perform tests, which can determine which contaminants are found in the air and air conditioning systems. It may be possible to clean systems and ductwork to remove mold, dust, and other allergens. This can improve air quality. However, if there are members of households who have severe allergies, a system cleaning and new air purifying system may be recommended.