During the hot summers in Salt Lake City, UT, you’ll turn to your air conditioner for relief and comfort. Most people spend at least 90% of their time indoors, and the majority of that time is at home. If you have noticed some new or worse sinus problems, you might wonder if they are related to your air conditioning system. Read on to learn about five ways your air conditioning system affects your breathing and sinus health.

1. Dirty Air Filter Increases Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

The air conditioner’s filter captures small particles that may trigger your allergies. The filter should remove dust, pollen and pet dander. A dirty air filter cannot capture these particles When there are more allergens, your body may produce inflammation and mucus. This could trigger sinus trouble. Excess mucus often backs up into the sinuses, leading to a sinus infection. Controlling your allergies with a clean AC filter could lessen your risk of sinus pressure, pain and congestion. Regularly checking your air conditioner’s air filter could also reduce your allergy symptoms. Ideally, check the filter every month, and replace it at least every two months.

2. Low Humidity and Nasal Irritation

When your air conditioner cycles a lot on hot days, it also removes a lot of humidity from your home’s air. If the indoor humidity level drops below 30%, your nostrils may become too dry. This triggers your body to produce mucus. You may need to adjust the thermostat or humidistat on your air conditioning system. If you have a whole-house dehumidifier, you may want to adjust its setting, too.

3. Blasts of Cold Air and Runny Noses

Your nose gets runny when exposed to a sudden blast of cold air. You have probably experienced this during the wintertime when stepping outside after being in your warm, comfortable home. When your air conditioner turns on, it delivers a powerful blast of cold air. This could trigger your nose to start running, especially if you are sitting next to a vent. The sudden change in temperature causes the mucus glands in your nose to make more mucus. If your nostrils are swollen, the mucus could get stuck, leading to sinus pressure and congestion.

4. More Exposure to Airborne Germs

When someone else in your home coughs or sneezes, they make a cloud of respiratory droplets. Each time the air conditioner performs a cooling cycle, the stream of cool air flows through each room. This distributes the viruses and bacteria from coughs and sneezes. Those germs will circulate through your entire home and land on surfaces. If you breathe in the germs or touch a surface that is contaminated and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes, you could get sick. Many respiratory illnesses include sinus symptoms. Replacing a filter with a low minimum efficiency reported value rating with one that has a rating of 17 or higher could remove more of those germs.

5. Poor Indoor Air Quality from Dirty Air Conditioners

A poorly maintained air conditioner could trigger sinus problems. Particle buildup on the evaporator coils or mold buildup in the filter, drain pan or condensate line could result in allergens getting distributed throughout your home during every cooling cycle. When you are exposed to an allergen, the blood vessels in your nose swell and become inflamed and irritated. Your body makes more mucus, too. The swelling makes it more difficult for you to blow or sneeze the mucus out of your nose. With nowhere else to go, the extra mucus fills your sinuses. You may notice sinus headaches, pressure, stuffy nose and pain around your cheeks. You can avoid this by scheduling spring air conditioner maintenance. Keeping up with air conditioner maintenance ensures that the entire system is clean and free of the allergens that trigger sinus issues.

Your home’s indoor air quality affects your breathing, sinuses and overall respiratory health. At S.O.S. Heating & Cooling, we’re proud to offer dependable indoor air quality products and services to help you breathe easier. We also perform heating and cooling repairs and installations. If your air conditioning system suddenly breaks down, our 24/7 emergency repair services restore comfort to your home. Our maintenance agreements ensure that your Salt Lake City home’s heating and cooling system is in peak condition. To learn more, contact us at S.O.S. Heating & Cooling today.