Air conditioning and how it impacts your allergies

Air conditioning and your allergies

 Summer is here! Which means air-conditioning units all over Australia are working overtime and can play havoc for those who have allergies or hayfever!

Basic maintenance on your air conditioner could provide maximum benefits in air quality and its operating efficiency. With the possible threat of power shortages this summer and increasing energy costs, being more energy efficient is another good reason to read ahead.

Increased efficiency, reduced costs

Did you know that a blocked or clogged up air conditioner unit means more energy is required to cool the air moving through it? A clean, clear filters can reduce an air condition’s energy consumption by as much as 5-15%.

Quality cooled air

The quality of air being pumped into your home environment is an important factor too especially for those with hay fever or allergies.

Just like the cilia (tiny hair-like structures) inside your nose traps particles and helps prevent them getting into our lungs, filters inside air conditioners, trap dust and particles before the air is released as cooled air.

If not cleaned, these filters can become blocked with dust, moisture, pollen, pet dander and other airborne particles.

Frequency of cleaning air conditioning filters varies across manufacturing brands, how often they are used and how dusty or polluted the surrounding environment is. However, most manufacturers agree that cleaning your air conditioning filters is the simplest means of maintaining a healthy living or working environment. They also agree that it’s the most effective way of maintaining maximum efficiency of the unit.

The trusty instruction manual

The simplest place to start is the instruction manual. This should give you all the information you need on the filters. It may also have suggestions about how and how often to clean the actual air conditioner unit.

If, like many of us mere mortals, you can’t find that instruction manual, run a Google search on the manufacturer’s website. If you have specific questions not covered by their Troubleshooting section, try their Customer Service hotline.

How to clean your filters

Wall or ceiling mounted air conditioners generally have filters in behind the grill which faces into a room. Bear in mind that if your unit is installed in a dusty environment, is on constantly or you have pets, it will require a lot more regular cleaning.

To clean a filter, simply dust with a small brush or vacuum cleaner with an appropriate attachment fitted. If a filter is dirty and can be removed, it can be washed carefully in warm soapy water. Be careful to ensure the filters are completely dry before they are reinstalled.

While you’re on a cleaning roll, check out the air flow blades, or fins, on the air conditioning unit. These can be either vacuumed with the appropriate attachment or wiped over with a damp cloth, depending on how grimy or accessible they are. Cleaning in behind these blades is a good idea.

Don’t stop with just your filters

Don’t forget a quick dust across the top of the unit and the wall around it too. If you use ceiling or portable fans too, then this is also a good time to clean the blades of these too. As with all electrical items, make sure they are switched off before use.

If your air conditioner has an outdoor condensing unit, pay attention to cleaning leaves, grasses and dirt from on and around the unit.

Always remember, if you have particular concerns or need advice regarding your air conditioner/s, contact the manufacturer or an air conditioning specialist in your local area.