Clean, Filtered Air: How Air Conditioning Can Help Control Asthma

Everyone wants to be able to breathe easily. For people with asthma, however, this isn't something that can be taken for granted. It's no wonder that, according to the University of Illinois Hospital, asthma's effects go beyond the physical, including anxiety and anger.

Your home is the place where you have the greatest control over the air quality. It's good to actively take charge of keeping the air in your home clear; it can help you breathe easier physically as well as be more relaxed mentally. But did you know that having well-maintained central air conditioning can help alleviate the symptoms of asthma?

Closed Windows, Clear Air

The biggest benefit of air conditioning for those with asthma is in the ability to close off a house or apartment and filter the outside air. Whether it's the air pollution of a city or the pollen of rural life, there will always be times when the air outside is aggravating to asthma sufferers.

On the other hand, simply closing all your doors and windows has a cost: you end up with stale air inside, with dust mites and other irritants hanging around with nowhere to go. A good air conditioning system will draw in and filter the air from outside, giving you constant fresh air without pollen or pollution.

Properly Filtered Air

The key in the previous scenario, however, is having a well-maintained air conditioner. A review was published in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports in 2011 looking at a variety of studies on air filtration and respiratory problems. One very important thing they found was that HVAC systems (that is, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems) can be highly effective at air filtration — but that too often, service technicians find that people do not change their filters frequently and skip routine maintenance.

An air conditioning system that is not properly maintained can, in fact, be a source of allergens — forcing air to be "filtered" through an old, dirty filter contaminates the air passing through. And if skipped maintenance leads to leaks within a unit, air filtration will be less effective or even ineffective.

What You Can Do

What's most important is having proper air conditioning, maintaining that air conditioning, and using the best filters possible. If you don't have central air conditioning, consider having it installed. Contractors at a business like Action Appliance Services can tell you which units provide the best air filtration. And then be sure to stick to the suggested replacement schedule.

If you already have central air, make sure you know and have been following the filter replacement and general maintenance schedules. Take a look at what type of filters you've been using — it may be possible to upgrade to a higher-efficiency filter and remove more irritants from the air in your home.