Living during the time of the ‘New Normal’ we no longer take for granted things like shopping for groceries, going to school, taking a vacation, or for that matter having plenty of toilet paper! Instead we live under what was previously an unfamiliar or atypical situation and have acclimated to the new normal wherein things like social distancing, Zoom, PPE, and the ‘Rona’ have become our new vernacular and procedures for conducting day to day life.
Despite all the change there are still some old norms that we can enjoy, like coming in from a hot day and cooling off next to our air conditioner. For some though a question has come to mind. With COVID-19 running amuck, is my AC safe to use?
CAN MY AC MAKE ME SICK?
In a previous blog, ‘Could Your AC Be Making You Sick?’ we explained that while air conditioners in themselves do not make us sick they do react with environmental factors in the home and can cause some people to develop what has been named ‘Air Conditioning Sickness’. The technical term for this condition is hypersensitivity pneumonitis and it’s basically “an inflammation of the lungs due to breathing in a foreign substance, usually certain types of dust, fungus, or molds.” Since our air conditioners are designed to circulate the air in our homes they can assist in the spread of pollutants.
According to a FOXNEWS Health report, they state that “A recent study found that ten people in Wuhan, China were infected with the virus simply by sitting near an air conditioning vent in a restaurant. Within a public setting, like a restaurant, workplace, or gym, air conditioning might be potentially risky.” They go on to state, “It helps to understand a little about droplets that we expel when we breathe, talk, cough, and sneeze. A single cough releases about 3,000 droplets, while a single sneeze can release about 30,000! When an AC unit is turned on, air flow from the vent pushes these droplets through the air and potentially into other people.” Now I know this is a bit scary but don’t panic because the report concludes with this encouraging news, “Air conditioning in your own home is far less risky than air conditioning in a busy public place. If you haven’t had people in and out of your home, the only droplets that could be spread by air conditioning are those from you and whoever you’ve been with.”
Speaking on the same topic there’s another article from the Cleveland Clinic. Here, Infectious Disease Specialist, Kristin Englund, MD says, “While there is no clear evidence at this time, fans and air conditioners do move air around in a room, so they theoretically pose a risk of spreading viral particles and droplets.”
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
What can we take away from the available information? Basically, ‘Be Aware and Take Care’. That means be aware that your air conditioner can spread air born particles. If some of the particles in your air-conditioned space contain COVID-19 then you could be at risk. But keep in mind it’s unlikely if you and those with you do not have or have come into contact with this disease. Take care means that you need to take preventative measures with regards to your AC. The easiest way to do this is to keep it clean. The easiest and most effective way to kill mold, fungi, and viruses is to use a great device I’ve found on the market, PureAC. This product is a game changer when it comes to AC maintenance. It’s simple to use and yet very effective in removing the things that could be lurking inside our air conditioners. It does this by using activated oxygen or ozone. While there are many ways to disinfect, ozone has a 99% effectiveness when killing pathogens like the flu, SARS, and the Coronavirus.
So, in summary, the new normal is not the greatest of times, but it is manageable. Especially when we’re informed and equipped with the correct information and solutions to our problems.