No matter what environment your air conditioning unit is located in, if you begin to notice that it is not working as efficiently as it used to, has a foul or stale odour, has mould visible and the air conditioning unit has a dirty appearance – then your split system air conditioning unit should undergo maintenance.
Poor indoor air quality can result in coughing, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat, chest tightness, headaches, and dry and itchy eyes. It may also trigger an asthma attack. On the other hand, long-term exposure to bad air can lead to chronic asthma and bronchitis, and even worsen the condition of patients with emphysema and heart disease.
Mould reproduces through mould spores and when your air conditioning unit is at rest, it’s the perfect environment for these mould spores to grow on. Once they have become at home in your air conditioner, a mould spore will reproduce. Further spores will be released and become airborne. You may smell this as a mouldy smell when you first turn your air conditioning unit on. They’ll spread throughout your home, landing on everything they come in contact with including food, toys, clothes and yourself. And from there you can eat them and breathe them in. If you have an allergic sensitivity to mould, its presence in your air conditioner is likely to trigger a significant reaction. Likewise, if you have asthma or any other respiratory illness, mould is a risk factor that can put you in hospital.
The real problems lay in the areas that you cannot reach; the indoor coil, fan barrel, drain pan and pipes are all moist environments which mould, fungus and bacteria thrive in. The best way to ensure that your home is protected is to have the mould, fungus and bacteria removed through air conditioning cleaning. An air conditioner contaminated with unacceptable levels of mould & bacteria can suppress your immune system, cause cold & flu-like symptoms, skin irritations, hay fever & trigger asthma attacks. If you want to provide your family with comfort controlled air that is also healthy then there is a solution.
Air conditioning cleaning typically involves spraying the unit with a cleaner and then to wash it off with water; or run the unit and let the condensation eventually wash the cleaner off. If the unit is particularly dirty than removing covers may be necessary and even removing the fan barrel may be needed. This is time consuming, not always cost effective and can still leave parts dirty. At Coastal Commercial and Residential Air Conditioning we offer a more professional service. Our premium air conditioning cleaning service involves stripping the unit down, covering it with a special bag, applying a biodegradable, non-toxic solution and then hose it off with hot high pressure jets of water. This removes any debris, dirt and gunk build up in the coils, filters, fan barrel and drain pan and pipes. It also removes any mould build up. The unit looks and smells like new once cleaned and you will be amazed at the colour of the dirty water when the job is complete.
Air Conditioning Cleaning Questions
What is Microbial Contamination?
All home and office air conditioners, after regular usage, become infected with “microbial contamination” – This contamination includes fungi, mould and bacteria. Air Conditioners are the perfect environment for such contaminants and of course they become constantly airborne every time you switch your air conditioner on. Mould combined with humidity can be a potent mix!!! Consumers are generally not made aware that air conditioning cleaning goes beyond just cleaning the filters. Cleaning your filters is “simple maintenance”. After regular usage the whole head unit also needs to be “correctly cleaned.
How does a typical home air conditioning system work?
Air is drawn from the room in your office or home through a return grill and passes through an air filter and into a furnace (or air handler). Inside of the air handler is the circulating blower, and a heat exchange coil commonly called the evaporator. The evaporator is cold and thus removes heat from air that blows across it. In addition to removing heat, water also leaves deposits on the evaporator surfaces. The cooled air returns to the room via outlet grills. The moisture falls into a drain pan under the evaporator and drains through a pipe out of the system.
How does the air conditioning system inside a home become a source of microbial contamination?
The air drawn into a system in your home or office contains dust, much of which is biological spores and other organic particles. Even the best filters capture only part of this material. Much of the rest falls out of the air stream onto the heat transfer surfaces. It combines with the water and the spores germinate and grow rapidly (or amplify).
Does microbial contamination in my air conditioning system impact the quality of the air in my home?
Yes. “Contaminated” air conditioning systems can become breeding grounds for mould, mildew, and other sources of biological contaminants and can then distribute these contaminants through the home. System components can act as direct or indirect sources of particles and/or volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s). Of greatest concern is biological growth and bio-aerosol generation, most of which are potential allergens. Airborne allergens in the home constitute one of the hardest types of allergens to avoid. Unfortunately, heating and cooling air conditioning systems are excellent harbours for moulds, and this system is an efficient distribution system.
What are the human symptoms of a contaminated air conditioner?
While the symptoms can vary greatly the following complaints have been associated with contaminated air conditioners:
- Asthma attacks
- Sore throat
- Sore, dry eyes
- Respiratory problems
- Tightness of chest
- Frequent colds
- Flu or flu-like symptoms
Can you prevent the growth of these biologicals?
Keep your home or office system clean and treated with a broad spectrum antimicrobial, which not only kills micro-organisms (i.e. mould, mildew, fungi and bacteria) in the system but will inhibit their growth for up to 6 months.
Can keeping my system clean and free from growth provide other benefits?
If you clean and flush your system regularly it will operate more efficiently, use less power and last longer.
Why would a growth free system last longer?
Most corrosion in air conditioning systems is caused by sulphuric acid secreted by common bacteria that chemically combines sulphur from the air with hydrogen and oxygen from water. These chemicals will have an adverse effect on the aluminium coils.
How frequent should I have my system cleaned?
Indoor Environmental Quality Standards Australia (IEQSA) specify that the frequency of decontamination and cleaning split air conditioners should be assessed on a case by case basis considering usage, room size and location etc. however not less than once per year. Where health issues are present including allergies the frequency of cleaning should be increased.