During the hot summer months, relaxing in your cool, air-conditioned house is one of the best feelings. Your air conditioner is a crucial appliance for not only comfort but safety when the temperatures rise, but all that conditioned air can have unfortunate side effects.

If you experience sore throats or dry sinuses from being in air conditioning, you’re not alone. Air conditioning may feel nice but working or sleeping in that dry air can lead to discomfort like irritated throats or sinuses.

Some situations can make your sore throat worse as well, such as an incorrectly installed air conditioner or damage to your ductwork. Find out all you need to know.

Why Do I Have a Sore Throat?

Air conditioners work by removing heat from your indoor air and moving it to the outside of your home. This process recycles cooled air and in turn, removes moisture from the air. This helps your home feel less muggy and hot, but it does mean the air is excessively dry.

Breathing in dry air over time can cause:
  • A dry throat or mouth
  • Sinus irritation
  • Eye or skin itching and irritation
  • Nosebleeds

People with pre-existing conditions or indoor allergies may struggle more with sore throats or other respiratory conditions, but they can affect anyone. The dryness from air conditioning can cause a sore throat when it’s running properly, but if there are problems, it could make symptoms worse. These include:

Bad AC Installation

If your air conditioner wasn’t installed properly, it can’t circulate the air as it should. Some parts of the system become stagnant, leading to a buildup of bacteria and mold that can contribute to respiratory irritation. When you’re installing your air conditioner, make sure to use a qualified HVAC contractor. They’ll not only ensure your air conditioning is installed properly, but they’ll also be able to help you determine the best system for your home’s unique needs.

Cracked or Broken Ductwork

Even the smallest crack in your ductwork can compromise your air conditioner’s function and lead to poor indoor air quality. If your ductwork has damage, contaminants like dust and dander can get into your ducts. These contaminants don’t pass through the air filter. Instead, they go directly into your home, affecting your air quality and contributing to sore throats and sinus issues.

Lack of AC Maintenance

Like any other appliance, air conditioners need maintenance from qualified HVAC contractors to keep them running optimally. If your system isn’t well maintained, you could have issues with mold or bacteria accumulating in your air conditioner and traveling through the air. You can replace your air filters on your own, but you should also contact an HVAC technician to schedule regular maintenance.

Closed Vent Control

If you run your air conditioning with the vent closed, it can lead to air quality issues. Your air conditioner won’t be able to exchange indoor and outdoor air correctly. Areas of the system can stagnate, leading to a buildup of mold or bacteria. All of this comes back out into the air, creating problems with sore throats and irritation.

These issues are big contributors to sore throats from air conditioning. But simply breathing in dry air regularly can cause sore throats, so here’s what you can do to help yourself.

What You Can Do If the Air Conditioner Is Giving You a Sore Throat

  • Schedule maintenance and repairs for your air conditioner. If you have issues that prevent your air conditioner from running at its best, you can struggle with ongoing respiratory problems.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially during the hot summer months. You should also drink a lot of water if you’re in low-humidity environments like an air-conditioned home or workplace.
  • Don’t run your air conditioner nonstop. Use economy mode to have your air conditioner cycle on and off, giving both the system and your throat a break from the dry air. You could also turn your air conditioner off when you’re not home, provided you don’t have family members or pets who need the cooled air.
  • Spend some time outdoors. Indoor air isn’t ideally balanced between oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. Go outside and breathe in fresh air on occasion to fight the effects of dry indoor air.
  • Clean and replace your air filters regularly, especially if you have pets or live in dusty areas. These contaminants build up on the air filters and impact your indoor air quality, and by extension, your health.

If you need air conditioning installation, repairs, or maintenance, contact the pros at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air to schedule an appointment!

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