Why You Should Reconsider Central Air Conditioning
When the temperatures go up, many people turn to central air conditioning to cool themselves down. While this modern convenience provides instant gratification, there are a number of hidden negatives that come with it.
Negative Effects on Your Health
While it might feel good to step into a chilly home after spending time in the sun, air conditioning could ultimately be hurting your health. According to the Livestrong Foundation, cranking that cold air could aggravate existing respiratory conditions. This happens due to the condensation that is created on the system’s drain pans and cooling coils, which can encourage mold and microorganisms. When you turn on the air, these irritants are blown out through the vents. They can cause serious breathing issues in people already dealing with asthma, bronchitis or sensitive respiratory systems. The source also explained that air from central cooling systems can be more unhealthy than outdoor air. Since many people with this home feature spend the majority of their time inside with it on, they fail to introduce fresh air into their houses. This creates a breeding ground for viruses and allergens.
Stan Cox, the author of “Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer),” tells the Chicago Tribune that the negative health effects of air conditioning extend beyond just breathing. He argues that constantly spending time in cold rooms reduces your body’s natural tolerance to warmth, making it more difficult for you to spend time in the high temperatures without becoming overheated. They also encourage people to spend more time indoors during the summer, reducing healthy sun exposure and exercise. Cox explains that people also tend to gain unhealthy weight when they constantly spend time in buildings with central cooling systems since they burn less energy and are more likely to consume calories.
Financial and Environmental Issues
In addition, having a negative impact on your health, air conditioning can take a toll on your wallet and the environment as well. Cox notes that since people have become more accustomed to air conditioning, they need to use it more often and at lower temperatures. This adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Despite newer models boasting energy-efficient qualities, many people do not use air conditioning in an energy-efficient way. Many central air systems are left running for entire buildings 24/7, regardless of how many people are inside. This practice ends up cooling many empty areas and having an unnecessary negative environmental impact.
Central air conditioning can also leave you with expensive bills. Since most people keep it on for most of the day, its costs can add up. Additionally, as Cox describes, once your body becomes accustomed to your cooling system, you need to run it more frequently and at cooler temperatures to achieve the cool environment you’re looking for. By the end of the summer, your energy expenses could grow even larger.
If you are concerned about the potentially negative effects of central air but do not want to spend your summer sweating through your shirts, never fear. There are plenty of ways to stay cool without cranking that frosty machine. Placing a box fan in a window overnight is an incredibly efficient way to bring fresh, cooler night air into your home to cool down a bedroom or other larger living space. Even better, they typically cost less than 2 cents per hour to run. If you do not have a window available, try any number of tower fans or air circulators to move the air in your room to create a cooling windchill effect.
Still, committed to your central air system? Try running air purifiers in tandem with your air conditioning to improve air quality and filter harmful irritants.
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