If you’re under the impression that your office is making you sneeze, there may be some truth to that. Air conditioning and allergies are often linked in commercial buildings. Especially, when the HVAC system is not serviced as per manufacturer and operating environment requirements. Air conditioners also function inefficiently when they are not upgraded, despite a change in the building function, placing more strain on the HVAC system. 

At Tri-Tech Energy, our specialty is installing, maintaining, and repairing commercial cooling systems of all sizes and ages, from small individual systems used in Condo complexes to very large rooftop air conditioning units in hotels, factories, and office buildings.That being said, we’ll discuss the air conditioning and allergy connection, workplace allergy symptoms, and how to limit indoor air quality (IAQ) problems that we see most often.    

Can Air Conditioning Cause Allergies?  

Building managers receive complaints from colleagues who state they experience allergic reactions, such as coughing, only when entering the workplace and that it stops once they leave. Sick building syndrome (SBS) does exist, but workplace allergies are not necessarily caused by air conditioning – pollutants such as cleaning chemicals and synthetic fibers from workplace carpeting or furniture also affect workers.   

In short, workplace allergies are not caused by the air conditioner itself but can be due to the circulating air quality. Pollutants, including dust mites, mold, mildew, pollen from outdoor sources, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), affect indoor air quality when it circulates through the air conditioning system.  

What are Air Conditioning Allergy Symptoms?  

Microbes living in ventilation systems can trigger allergic reactions, including hypersensitivity and asthma. Air conditioning allergy symptoms include coughing, sneezing, tiredness, shortness of breath, watery eyes, dizziness, and fever. Senior adults, children, and persons with existing respiratory vulnerabilities are more susceptible to airborne contaminants. 

Unfortunately, certain bacteria and viruses can also be transmitted through the air and enter a commercial building via the air conditioning system, although this is rare with well-maintained HVAC systems. A flu outbreak at work might not be due to the air quality but sick colleagues touching common areas, transferring the virus. The best way to avoid an air conditioner allergy is by treating a potential cause.   

How to Avoid Allergies Caused by A/C?

Building codes have minimum ventilation requirements to maintain a standardized IAQ level. It is insufficient in many instances, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed multiple standards and design guides to help practitioners achieve good IAQ in buildings. 

Are you wondering how to avoid staff and customers getting an air conditioner allergy? Act on the following:

  • Appoint professionals such as Tri-Tech Energy to perform regular maintenance on the building’s HVAC system.
  • Install HEPA filters to reduce indoor concentrations of airborne particles, or replace your HVAC air filter more regularly.
  • Prevent excess humidity and control indoor moisture that could grow mold or mildew. 
  • Increase ventilation rates to ensure more outdoor air enters the building. 

How Often Should Air Conditioning Be Serviced?  

HVAC allergy solutions require regular servicing of air conditioning and HVAC systems. How often is an air conditioning service required? Standard practice is twice annually, before each cooling and heating season, but the business’s operating environment will determine if it should be done more often. 

When you use Tri-Tech to perform HVAC maintenance in NJ, we look at the system as a whole to identify problem areas that need immediate attention, and create a comprehensive planned “maintenance-plus” program for each client. Our service plans put technicians onsite 2 or 4 times a year, to perform maintenance that keeps small repairs from becoming large ones. When we do rooftop HVAC installation maintenance, our service plan includes air filter inspection and replacement as needed.

Tri-Tech encourages all clients to follow regular HVAC maintenance schedules to maximize the indoor quality of commercial buildings. Upgrading the system could also minimize the likelihood of liability challenges. Are you concerned that the building’s air conditioning and employee allergies are connected? Contact Tri-Tech Energy today or visit our website at: https://www.tritechenergy.com/