Do AC Units Bring Pollen Indoors?

For many Georgians, springtime is a symbol of renewal and the return of warmer, longer days. However, for others, springtime means one thing: pollen, and with it the sniffles and sneezes of allergy season.

To try and stave off the spring sinus scramble, people with strong reactions to pollen and other common allergens will attempt to protect themselves by tightly closing all their doors and windows and turning on their air conditioning units in an effort to limit their exposure to the outside particulates. But these efforts to isolate themselves from those allergens may not only be in vain, but are actively increasing the susceptibility to allergic reactions.

How Air Conditioning Affects Allergies

In a true twist of springtime fate, your air conditioner can, in fact, make your allergies, asthma, and other respiratory troubles worse in a few different ways.. First, your A/C circulates air through ductwork which often contains dust and other contaminants which contribute to poor air quality. Common contaminants found in ventilation ductwork include:

  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Mold and mildew
  • Bacteria and viruses

But don’t fret, there are plenty of steps you can take to help mitigate these issues and get back to breathing better in your home:

  • Using an air purification system or plants that purify the air for you
  • Replacing your furnace filter with a HEPA filter
  • Changing your furnace filter quarterly
  • Having your ductwork professionally cleaned

But even with such air purifying measures, you may still experience allergy-like symptoms as a result of removing too much moisture from the air. Too little humidity can create symptoms resembling allergic reactions known as non-allergic rhinitis. The sneezing, coughing, and congestion caused by this condition cannot be alleviated through the use of common allergy treatments such as antihistamines.

Additionally, too little humidity in the air can cause your skin to dry out and become itchy or even lead to frequent nosebleeds. This is a common experience during winter months when the humidity levels are at their lowest. If you experience these symptoms during the warmer seasons, your air conditioner may be the cause.

If you experience allergy-like symptoms, dry skin, or frequent nosebleeds as a result of your air conditioner reducing the humidity levels of your home, you may want to consider a whole-house humidifier. As its name suggests, a whole-house humidifier serves to increase the humidity levels of an entire home. In addition, a whole-house humidifier typically includes a hygrometer which acts to control and maintain the humidity levels in your home within the optimal 25–40% range as recommended by the EPA.

For any and all your cooling, heating, and clean air needs, the Stiles Services team is here to help you live comfortably all year round!

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