Is There Mold in Your AC Unit ?

As the temperature in the UAE rises, the temperature of your AC decreases and it’s easy to take it for granted. However, many people are unaware that the bacteria, mold, and fungi lurking in that comforting air-conditioning unit can cause all sorts of trouble.

If the system is not well-maintained and regularly cleaned and sanitized, heating; ventilation; and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems can harbor bacteria that can lead to the development of diseases for the building’s occupants. Increased dust or humidity from poorly-maintained systems can result in symptoms such as allergic reactions. The combination of both creates the perfect environment for mold to spread, causing chronic respiratory problems to develop. Some of the other most common symptoms include:

• Nasal stuffiness
• Throat irritation
• Coughing
• Wheezing
• Eye irritation
• Skin irritation and allergies

Mold and bacteria growth can develop in a relatively short period of time, particularly when premises are not occupied. Ambient conditions, as is the case during hot and humid months, encourage mold growth. Particular care should be exercised when the occupants are children, elderly, or have pre-existing respiratory or compromised immune system conditions. Even if you do have a regular maintenance system in your house, here are a few more steps you can take to prevent it:

• Keep the humidity of your indoor air as low as possible especially in the summer.
• Schedule professional annual, periodic air conditioning maintenance.
• Change your filters monthly or every 3 months, depending on the units.
• Use ventilation fans and windows for your bathroom and kitchen.
• Get rid of any other mold infestations, such as in drywall, carpet and other household materials.
• Occasionally let in some fresh air.

(Written by: Dr. Sharjeel Shaikh, ENT Specialist, Aster Clinic)