Do you find that you start coughing when you turn your air conditioner on? Or do you have a persistent cough that your air conditioner seems to make worse? It’s always wise to run your symptoms by your doctor. Plus, we also have some idea of what might be going on with your air conditioner that is affecting you. Here’s what you should know.
Why Does AC Make You Cough During Normal Operation?
You may have a cough from your air conditioner’s normal operation. Air conditioners cool the air, but when they do so, they also draw humidity out of the air. This is typically a good thing, as summers often bring overly humid conditions that can make breathing uncomfortable for some people. On the other hand, if humidity levels are relatively low, or you’re more sensitive to low humidity than most, this lack of humidity may give you a dry cough.
If you have certain conditions, such as asthma, COPD, and more, then lowered humidity may make your symptoms worse. Your doctor can tell you how to better control your symptoms. You may also want to increase the humidity in your home–just not by too much. Ideal indoor humidity is from 30 to 50 percent. A small, portable humidifier might be all you need, but you can also install a home home humidifier to give you greater control over your climate and get rid of that AC cough for good. If you’re particularly sensitive to the lack of humidity from running your AC during the hot months, then this is usually your best option.
Dirty Air Conditioner Filters can Make You Cough
Air conditioners can also make you cough if they are cycling debris back into your air or growing mold and bacteria in their filter. Air conditioners that haven’t been replaced on time will collect more dust, dirt, pet hair, allergens, bacteria, mold spores and more. They may begin to blow this debris back into your air instead of removing it.
Plus, overfull air conditioner filters can host bacteria or mold growth. This may significantly reduce your air quality and can contribute to a cough. To fix it, all you have to do is change out your air conditioner filter. Your HVAC technician can do this for you during your annual maintenance appointment. Or they can tell you how often you should be swapping it out throughout the summer.
For people with difficulty breathing or a history of respiratory illness, investing in a higher-quality HEPA filter can also help. Whole home air filters and purifiers that go beyond a typical furnace filter’s performance can also make a big difference for chronic sufferers.
Leaking Air Conditioners can Cause a Cough
Air conditioners may be the source of a leak. They remove moisture from the air and are supposed to drain that water out of a drainage line. However, leaks, clogs and other problems may redirect that water back into your home. If this puddle of water enables mold or bacteria growth, it can undermine your air quality. It can also raise the humidity levels in your home. Both issues can contribute to your cough.
Inspect your air conditioner and look for moisture around it. Your HVAC professional can fix any leaks you find.
Other Solutions for your Air Conditioning Cough
If you find that your air conditioning is making you cough, the last thing you want to do is turn it off and be too hot. If you’ve looked into all of the solutions above, you could reach out to your doctor for help. Your HVAC tech might also have some solutions for you, including:
- Air purifiers: You can remove pollutants that may trigger your cough with an air purifier. Your doctor can tell you your triggers, and we can help you choose the right purifier to target them.
- Humidifiers: To combat dry air, use a humidifier. Just be sure not to add too much humidity to the air.
We can help you prevent your air-conditioner cough. Reach out any time to learn more, or to schedule your first appointment. Our technicians can help you determine if your home’s air and humidity are at normal levels for your structure and equipment, or if there is something wrong with your system that exacerbates your AC cough.