The surprising health benefits of home air conditioning
Air conditioning is used widely in homes across the world. In the UK, however, it has largely been confined to offices and some new-build flats. One of the consequences of COVID-19, however, is that people are becoming more aware of the importance of air quality and ventilation. With that in mind, here are five surprising health benefits provided by air conditioning.
Easing of respiratory conditions
Most people are going to suffer from a respiratory condition at least once in their life. In fact, the average person is probably going to suffer from one at least once a year. Some people even have to deal with them throughout their lives. Asthma is probably the most obvious example of this.
Common asthma triggers include mites, pollutants, allergens and mould. Air conditioning systems will filter out the first three and will also reduce humidity levels, thus making it much less likely that your home will be attacked by mould.
Reducing exposure to allergens
Picking up from the previous point, air conditioning filters out allergens and thus makes life much easier for allergy sufferers. This is a particular benefit in summer which is the peak period for seasonal allergies, notably hay fever. Even if you’ve never experienced hay fever before, you’re still not safe from it. Allergies, including hay fever, can strike at any time.
If you have hay fever then you really need to keep windows closed. That means you either have to live with the sweltering temperatures of summer, run fans, or have air conditioning. Living with high temperatures is extremely unpleasant and may be unsafe. Running fans continually is expensive and often noisy. That leaves air conditioning as by far the best option.
Keeping bugs and germs away
In this context, “bugs” means literal bugs as well as the likes of germ-filled bacteria. Literal bugs often bite or sting. This is a pain in itself (literally) and can be a source of disease transmission. Bacteria are notoriously hazardous to health and can also become resistant to chemical treatments whether that’s disinfectant or antibiotics.
The good news is that most insects in the UK and almost all bacteria have a strong preference for warm, humid environments. Air conditioning lowers the temperature and dries out the air. It, therefore, makes your home a less attractive place for them to be.
Improve your energy levels
Activity raises your body temperature. It also causes you to sweat. This is exactly why you feel the urge to move as temperatures drop. By the same logic, it’s also the reason why it can be difficult to muster up the energy for activity when temperatures go up.
In warmer temperatures, physical activity may become unsafe. Mental activity should, in theory, still be possible. In practice, however, warmer temperatures tend to cause the body to want to slow down, relax and be still. This can make it very hard to get your brain engaged.
If temperatures get really hot, then you may start to become dehydrated or even suffer from heatstroke. This is less likely for adults (although it’s definitely possible). It is, however, a real risk for younger children, older people and pets.
Get better sleep
You may be aware that the body’s temperature drops as you fall asleep. You may think this means that you need to counterbalance the drop by adding extra warmth. This is actually not the case.
The reason you may need extra heating in bedrooms is that the ambient temperature can drop lower than your body finds comfortable. This is particularly true in winter.
When the ambient temperature is warm, however, your body can struggle to cool down enough to sleep. That’s why it can appreciate some extra help. In general, air conditioning is more effective, economical and quieter than using a fan.
About the Author
Dominic is the director of Chill Air Conditioning, which are specialists in air conditioning installations for both commercial and domestic use across East Midlands.