Air Conditioners and heaters and your health
Heating and cooling seems to be a massive part of our lives, especially if you live in Melbourne! The constant back and forth with hot and cold weather, not knowing if it will rain tomorrow or be blue skies and everynight sleeping with one leg out of the covers, (we’ve grown to not care if something will grab our leg BECAUSE IT IS TOO HOT! But too cold to sleep without a cover). We seem to be in a constant limbo, air con on, air con off, heater on, heater off! If you’re anything like me, either the air con is on in my car or the heater is on. It is that exposure of heat to cold and cold to heat that our bodies don’t seem to respond well too.
But answer me this, when was the last time you had your air conditioner or heater cleaned and serviced?
Do you find you are coughing a bit more, you’re a bit more stuffy than normal, just not feeling right? This could be a result of a filtration system constantly filtering all the dust back into your home.
Research has shown that there can be instances of unexplainable sluggishness in people who have air conditioners in their homes or offices. This will happen in spaces where the air-conditioning is set at a very low temperature. If you find that this is something that does affect you but you never really gave the air con a thought, try getting out of the cooler air regularly and sitting somewhere to help increase your temperature.
There are so many other symptoms that you can experience and really not realise it is coming from your cooling and heating.
Dehydration – Air conditioners dry out the air. We are constantly losing moisture to the environment around us as part of normal physiological functions. Also, if you are in a cool environment you may not feel the same urge to replenish your fluid levels. If we do not regularly drink fluids to replace the water we are losing, most of the time we think it is just hot.
Dry and or itchy skin – If people spend a lot of time in an air conditioned environment, they may find that certain symptoms can develop. This may include dryness of the skin and itchy skin. Often skin dryness can be associated with dehydration.
Headaches – As the environment tends to be dry, people can experience dehydration. When the fluid levels in the body are below optimal levels, the brain can temporarily contract or shrink as a consequence, triggering a pain response in the membrane surrounding the brain.
Respiratory Issues- People who spend a lot of time in air-conditioned spaces tend to experience more upper respiratory symptoms, particularly in their nose and throat, when compared to people who have less time in air-conditioned spaces. These symptoms will usually include nasal blockages, dry throat, or rhinitis.
Infectious Diseases- The irritation of mucous membranes, combined with the dry air conditioned air, can lead to your mucous drying out. Mucous acts as a protective layer that is able to keep out viruses and bacteria. This can make you more vulnerable.
Allergies and Asthma- There are so many things indoor and outdoor that can be triggers for asthma. If the filters in the air conditioner are regularly clean and the unit is functioning properly, it can help reduce the number of allergens in your air. In saying that though, if a person spends most of their time or an excessive amount of time indoors, they will be exposed to a range of potential triggers, including, dust mites and chemicals.
With all the moisture that accumulates in the air conditioning unit, there is a potential of the growth of mould. The spores can spread by the air flow through the unit causing the allergic reaction in many people.
Just like air conditioners, heaters can cause a bit of a worry also. While heaters can do wonders by warming you up in the colder weather. Gas heaters produce heat when they burn gas fuel, a flued gas heater releases air pollutants and water vapour outside of the home through a chimney or flue. While an unflued gas heater releases them directly into your home.
If you do have a gas heater that does not have a flue, make sure to service it regularly and make sure the room is well ventilated.
Never use an unflued gas heater in a bedroom, bathroom or other small rooms with no permanent ventilation because harmful toxic gasses can build up inside.
Always check your has heater is working properly, your heater should be serviced every two years by a licensed gas fitter. Signs that something is wrong include
Difficulty lighting it
Noisey inoperable fan
Electric heaters should be checked for obvious damage such as rusted reflectors (especially on older heaters). The power cord should also be checked for any damage. An electrician or service technician should do any repairs.
Don’t leave portable heaters in places where people or pets could knock them over.
Any gas heater can spill carbon monoxide – including old and new heaters, central heating units, space heaters and wall furnaces and decorative appliances such as decorative log fires.
To avoid this risk, all gas heaters and decorative log fires need to be serviced at least every two years by a qualified gasfitter. A qualified gas fitter checks the installation including testing for carbon monoxide leakage
Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas that may cause symptoms including tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, confusion or chest pain if inhaled.
Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should:
immediately turn off all gas appliances (heater, stove) and kitchen rangehood or bathroom fans
open the doors and windows to ventilate the area
leave the property, keeping the doors and windows open if possible
Hyde heating and cooling, not only specialise in installation of heating and cooling in the south eastern suburbs, Hyde heating and cooling pride themselves on the quality and integrity of their work. Hyde heating and cooling offer maintenance and repairs so you don’t have to worry. With years of experience and expert knowledge you can be sure you are in safe hands.
If you are in need of servicing, upgrade or maintenance, Hyde Heating and Cooling have you covered.
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