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Does Air Conditioning Cause Headaches?

i-have-a-headache-this-bigAir conditioning systems don’t have a long history in homes. Not as long as electricity and indoor plumbing, for example. Central air conditioning installations only became common in the 1970s. Since ACs started spreading, homeowners have wondered if these cooling devices might cause indoor health complications.

For the most part, they don’t. Air conditioning systems pose no major health concerns to a household unless a major refrigerant leak sends chemical refrigerant into the living spaces—a rare occurrence. But the way ACs operate can have a negative effect on some individuals, such as headaches.

Why Would an Air Conditioning System Trigger Headaches?

A good question! An air conditioner works by absorbing thermal energy from the air pushed through it. The refrigerant in the condensing coils draws heat as the cold refrigerant evaporates. The remaining air turns cooler, and fans send this conditioned air into the ventilation system and throughout the rooms.

This sounds simple enough, but side effects can occur because of…

  • Low moisture: As the condenser coils draw heat from the air, they also draw moisture, which dries the air. An AC doesn’t function as a dehumidifier (you must have a dedicated dehumidifier for properly balanced humidity levels) but it can create overly dry conditions. People may feel headaches from the effects of dehydration.
  • Noise: Although the technology of air conditioners continues to make them quieter, they’ll never run in total silence. Many can still make a racket, and if this sound buzzes around a home throughout the day, it can make heads buzz as well.
  • Too cold: When an air conditioning system makes a space too cold, it contracts the blood vessels in the brain, which is a common source of headaches.
  • Allergens and other airborne contaminants: An air conditioner doesn’t create these pollutants. But they often hide inside the ductwork, so when the AC’s fan turns on, it blasts these particles around the house. Breathing these contaminants creates headaches as well as sneezing, coughing, and fatigue.

What You Can Do About This

Each of these headache sources requires a specific fix. An air conditioning system drying out a house or one that runs too noisily either needs professional repairs or a replacement. (We also recommend installing a whole-house humidifier if your home often turns too dry.) Turn the thermostat up higher if the house feels too cool, or you may need to have a better thermostat installed. To deal with allergens and other indoor air quality problems, call our ductwork professional to do thorough duct cleaning. You may even consider installing a ductless mini split system, which offers plenty of benefits along with the cleaner air.

We advise you to call our professionals first to look at your air conditioning in Shreveport, LA. We can determine the malfunction causing the problem, offer you a number of solutions, and then get the work done. We have experience with both HVAC and indoor air quality, so we know exactly how to fine-tune or upgrade your cooling system for better comfort—and fewer headaches!

Call the Doctor of Home Comfort: Hall’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration serves the Shreveport area.

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