We are often excited about summer. But having lived in some of America’s hottest regions, I know how unbearable the heat can get.
Bright sunny afternoons are typically fun. But that feeling can quickly go away if you start getting all sweaty in your favorite suit or dress. The last thing you want in that kind of weather is to be away from air conditioning.
That much-needed source of relief is not without its fair share of drawbacks. Read along to find out some of the pros and cons of air conditioning you didn’t know existed.
Benefits of Air Conditioning
- Preventing heat-related ailments and deaths.
- Improved air quality
- Reduced dehydration
- Reduced allergies and asthma attacks
- Increased productivity
Drawbacks of Air Conditioning
- Can cause respiratory problems
- Increased energy bills
- Environmental pollution
- Can lead to dry skin
What are the Pros and Cons of Air Conditioning
Pros of Air Conditioning
Have you ever wondered why there is air conditioning in nearly every home, business premise, vehicle, plane, and more today?
Other than the apparent purpose of making temperatures comfortable, AC systems bring us lots of benefits.
1. Improved indoor air quality
Air conditioners help circulate and filter indoor air, keeping it fresh and healthier at all times. These units typically contain a filter or more that helps remove allergens and pollutants from the air inside a room.
The inside unit of the AC system draws air inside the room and passes it through a built-in air filter in the AC before cooling it.
The air conditioning system can remove any undesirable or harmful pollutants like dust and pollen from the air inside your room through this process.
2. Less sweating and dehydration
Some people sweat more than others. Nonetheless, high temperatures make us sweat more, leading to dehydration.
You don’t want to lose too much water from the body through dehydration. Losing too much water due to excessive sweating may cause body cells, organs, and tissues to fail to function correctly.
If dehydration goes on for a while, it may lead to shock and other health complications.
Also, if you have ever drenched yourself in sweat, you know how it can be psychologically damaging. It makes you feel sticky and uncomfortable.
You would not fully participate in a social activity in that state unless you can get a quick shower and change of clothes. Unfortunately, neither of these is usually within reach in a typical workday or any social gathering.
Air conditioning can save you from all that trouble and possible embarrassment. It reduces the temperatures to comfortable levels that keep you from sweating so you can enjoy your work or social life.
3. Preventing heat-related sickness and death
Few people may be aware that heat is a leading cause of death. But, believe it or not, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than six hundred people die every year due to extreme heat in the United States alone.
Here, we are referring to people drying as a direct result of heat. This number would be much larger if we added those who die from conditions resulting from heat.
Air conditioning, therefore, comes in handy as a much-needed tool for preventing heat-related mortality around the world.
Over the years, adults over the age of 65, children under the age of 4, sick persons, and people with obesity have comprised the largest number of heat-related sickness and death victims.
These groups of people are thus considered most vulnerable to extreme heat situations.
4. Reduced allergies and asthma attacks
Allergens such as mold spores and dust mites thrive in warm, moist environments. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in the dust in our households.
The majority of asthmatic people are allergic to dust and may experience frequent attacks when in dusty conditions. That’s why it’s advisable to get a dehumidifier for allergies to help remove dusts.
In essence, it is the dust mite droppings and the fragments of the bodies of dead dust mites that are responsible for these allergic reactions.
Many people are also allergic to pollen and will experience severe reactions when exposed to these particles.
Because an air conditioner filters out these particles from the air, it helps eliminate the common triggers of asthmatic attacks and allergic reactions.
As a result, people with these conditions have less exposure to common allergens, leading to fewer attacks and allergic reactions.
Air conditioning also creates a sustainable environment for people with allergies and asthma. Cooling indoor air eliminates the warm, moist conditions that often promote the breeding of dust mites and mold spores.
Just ensure that the air filter on the AC is cleaned constantly to keep it working properly. Otherwise, it could make matters worse.
5. Improved productivity
High temperatures hurt the human brain and a negative correlation to overall productivity at work.
Whether you are working from home or office, your body will expend more energy to cool down the brain when ambient temperatures are unfavorably high.
This energy subtracts from the supply that could have gone toward your work productivity. Air conditioning helps eliminate the one key factor that dampens productivity: high temperatures.
Therefore, you will see your productivity soar when working in air-conditioned environs, be it at home or in the office.
Cons of Air Conditioning
Like any good thing with several benefits, air conditioning systems have their limitations. Let us dive right in and look at them one by one.
1. Air conditioning can cause respiratory problems.
We mentioned that one of the main advantages of air conditioning is improved indoor air quality. However, here is the caveat: unless the air filter inside your AC is clean, it can cause indoor air pollution and lead to severe health issues.
Because the air filters are responsible for trapping dust and other particles inside the room, the filters are prone to getting dirty. They can quickly get cloggy and become unable to maintain the integrity of air inside the house.
Instead, the AC will be blowing bacteria and fungus into the air, causing breathing problems, including pneumonia and lung inflammation.
So, ensure you get the filters clean regularly. A technician should also know when it is time to change the filters.
2. Environment pollution
Air conditioning systems use refrigerants to absorb the heat inside your house and cool it. At some point, these cooling units utilized chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) for refrigerants. But, CFCs can have very adverse effects on the ozone layer.
Modern AC systems have swapped CFCs with halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are less harmful to the ozone layer.
Even though modern refrigerants are less harmful to the ozone layer, standard AC systems still emit lots of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
These gases leave a carbon footprint on the environment, causing significant degradation in the long run.
3. Driving up utility bills
Air conditioners require electricity to power them up. Unfortunately, they can consume a lot of power and inflate your energy bills.
Since some of the electricity we use is produced by burning coal, increased power usage can negatively affect the environment. However, you can use solar-powered airconditioners as an alternative.
4. Dry skin
Prolonged exposure to the whirring breeze of your favorite air conditioner might cause your skin to dry.
Therefore, you may want to be sparing with your AC usage and only spend time in front of the AC breeze when you really have to.
Since the problem is more common with ducted HVAC systems with vents, you could consider installing a ductless option. Alternatively, get in the habit of applying moisturizer to your skin.
Ronald Watford, the owner of Quality Home Air Care, is a qualified HVACR technician and manages the team of expert writers on this site. He believes that educating homeowners about HVAC systems is one of the most impactful aspects of his job.