How AC Cleaning Services Help Prevent Health Issues

If you live in Port Huron, St. Clair County, Michigan, your health can be at risk because of the air you breathe. For one, the 2023 State of the Lung Report gave the County a failing “F” grade for ozone pollution.

Ground-level ozone, also called smog, is dangerous since it can cause eye and lung problems. It can irritate the eyes and lungs and cause breathing difficulties and coughing. It can also aggravate asthma and increase one’s risk for respiratory infections.

That doesn’t mean staying indoors is any safer, though. Especially not if you’ve never had AC cleaning services or if the last time you’ve had them was many years ago.

So, how exactly does a clean air conditioner affect your health? How can it benefit you and your loved ones’ well-being? This guide uncovers what you need to know about AC maintenance/cleaning, IAQ, and health.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) 101

IAQ refers to the air quality inside a building, such as a home. It accounts for the levels of pollutants in indoor air.

Indoor pollutants can come from many sources, such as:

  • Appliances that rely on fuel combustion (e.g., gas stoves and furnaces)
  • Tobacco products
  • New carpets, floors, and upholstery
  • Household cleaning products and insecticides
  • Excess moisture
  • Ozone-emitting equipment, like photocopiers and laser printers
  • Outdoor air pollution, including ozone and particle pollution

Heating and cooling systems can help reduce the levels of pollutants from those sources through filtration. Conversely, improperly maintained HVAC systems can also make things worse.

How HVAC Systems Help With IAQ

HVAC systems help maintain optimal IAQ by providing adequate ventilation with filtration.

Ventilation means to move and circulate outdoor air into an indoor space. This helps dilute the pollutants present in the indoor air. It also removes polluted indoor air by taking it outside of the building or room.

Ventilation can be mechanical, natural, or uncontrolled.

HVAC-driven ventilation falls under mechanical. Natural ventilation includes intentionally opening doors and windows to let outdoor air in. Uncontrolled ventilation, or infiltration, is when unwanted outdoor air enters a building through cracks, gaps, or holes.

The advantage of HVAC ventilation is that it also filters the air. This filter captures pollutants like dirt, dust, dander, and particles from the air.

The primary job of an HVAC filter is to keep contaminants from entering the system and lowering its efficiency. That’s also why replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can reduce an AC’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

As a bonus, your AC filters the air before distributing the cool air throughout your home. So you and your loved ones can breathe cleaner, conditioned air.

When an AC Can Do More Damage Than Good

Because of its job of trapping air pollutants, an AC filter will get dirty after about one to three months. Once it becomes clogged, your system will work harder to pull air in. This can result in your AC running continuously and driving up your cooling bills.

Worse, a clogged filter will no longer have space for new air pollutants. An overloaded filter can also collapse and allow polluted air to bypass it. As a result, your AC can circulate unfiltered air throughout your home.

The pollutants in the air that bypass the filter can also get lodged in other critical components of the AC, such as the fan and the evaporator coils. When a dirty fan runs, it can release dirt into the air that you may breathe. Dirty evaporator coils can also impact IAQ because dirt restricts their ability to absorb moisture in the air. This can contribute to higher indoor humidity, promoting mold and mildew growth. They smell horrible, irritate the eyes and nose, and can trigger asthma or allergies.

How AC Cleaning Services Can Help

AC cleaning services include thoroughly inspecting and cleaning interior and exterior components. These include the:

  • Air filter
  • Evaporator coils
  • Coil fins
  • Fan and blower motor
  • Condensate drains

After a highly experienced HVAC technician completes those tasks, you can then enjoy the following benefits:

Better IAQ With a New Air Filter

A new or clean AC filter is better at capturing more air pollutants than a dirty one. So, it’s more effective in helping clean the air that enters your AC and circulates throughout your home. This helps boost your home’s IAQ, helping you breathe more easily.

Improve Dehumidification for Better Comfort

Dirt, dust, and debris act like insulation on evaporator coils. The thicker the residue is, the less efficient the coils get in absorbing heat and moisture from the air. Even if this forces the AC to work harder and longer, it won’t be able to dehumidify the air effectively.

As mentioned above, high humidity levels promote mold and mildew growth. However, it can also make you uncomfortable, which researchers say can indirectly impact mood. For example, you may feel more irritable, which doesn’t do your mental health any good.

So, by cleaning the evaporator coils, you can make your AC dehumidify the air better. This can then help with mold, mildew, and humidity control. The better your air conditioner can do these jobs, the more comfortable you can feel.

Better Cooling With Clean AC Coil Fins

Coil fins are tiny and thin metal strips that help air conditioner coils transfer heat. There are evaporator coil fins and condenser coil fins. Condenser fins are more prone to dirt buildup because they’re in the outside unit.

Both coil fins are susceptible to damage, though, as they’re fragile and easy to bend. When this happens, they can block airflow and allow more debris to accumulate. This reduces your AC’s cooling power, affecting your comfort, which, as stated above, can directly impact your mood and health.

So, before that happens, hire an HVAC technician for a complete AC maintenance service. Not only will they clean the coils as part of the package, but they’ll also fix bends and dents using appropriate tools like fin combs.

Prevent Molds From Invading Condensate Drains

Another way an ill-maintained AC can promote mold growth is through a clogged condensate drain pan or drain line.

The condensate drain pan collects the condensation created by the cooling process. This pan has a connected drain through which accumulated water passes. The drain line then brings the water outside of your home.

The condensate drain system typically remains damp as you operate your cooling system. This makes it a prime habitat for molds and mildew. Dust, dirt, and debris can also settle in the pan, covering the drain hole or clogging the drain line.

Once clogged, the drain line can no longer bring the collected water outside your home. This can result in condensation building up in the pan and potentially overflowing. It can also promote further mold and mildew growth.

Moreover, a clogged condensate drain line could cause your AC to freeze and malfunction.

Regular AC maintenance can help prevent those issues since it includes condensate drain cleaning. An HVAC technician will also clear the components of clogs and sanitize them. They may also spray antimicrobials to inhibit future mold and mildew growth.

Minimize Pollutants With HVAC Duct Cleaning

Have you ever had your air ducts cleaned? If yes, when was the last time you had it done?

If you can’t remember or if it has been three to five years, consider getting your air ducts cleaned by a pro ASAP. Your ducts may already have significant dirt, dust, mold, pollen, and dander buildup.

Filthy ducts can lower IAQ by “re-polluting” the filtered air that passes through them. They may also introduce new pollutants into the air, such as airborne particles of pest droppings.

That’s right: Pests like rodents may live in duct systems. Their droppings and saliva, which contain disease-causing germs, can become airborne. This lowers your home’s IAQ and exposes you to dangerous pathogens like hantaviruses.

An HVAC technician can help reduce those risks by cleaning and sanitizing your air ducts. They’ll also inform you about the possibility of pests living in your duct system. If so, they’ll recommend you call pest control experts to deal with the infestation.

Extra Pro Tip: Clean the Air With UV Light

While AC air cleaning services can help improve IAQ, you may still worry about germs in your HVAC system. So, if you want extra peace of mind, consider investing in an HVAC UV light air cleaner.

HVAC air cleaners use UV-C light that can destroy indoor biological pollutants. These include molds, fungi, bacteria, and viruses that grow on moist HVAC surfaces, such as air ducts, drain pans, and evaporator coils. The UV light can inactivate or kill these microbes by damaging their DNA.

Breathe Better With a Clean Air Conditioner

Since your air conditioner circulates cool air that you breathe in, you want to ensure it’s clean and won’t make you ill. This makes regular AC cleaning services worth investing in and paying for.

Our team at It’s Your Heating and Cooling Guy provides HVAC maintenance and IAQ services. We’ve been serving Michigan for over 21 years, and our experienced technicians are happy to help 24/7.

So, if you’re ready to breathe cleaner air, contact us today! We look forward to discussing how we can help improve your IAQ.