There are a number of possible reasons why you may be getting a stuffy nose when your air conditioner is on.
Air conditioners have always been surrounded by health myths, and some of them still persist in modern days. While some of these myths can be easily busted, others have appeared from observing real conditions worsened or triggered by malfunctioning air conditioners or by a person’s sensitivity to certain factors.
One of the most common health issues connected to using air conditioning is getting a stuffy nose when the unit is on. Why may this happen and what can you do about it?
There are a number of possible reasons why you may be getting a stuffy nose when your air conditioner is on. Here are the most common reasons.
Allergies to Dust, Pollen, Dust Mites
For people with allergies, a poorly maintained air conditioning unit can exacerbate their condition. Anything from dust mites, mold, pollen, or other allergens can circulate in the indoor air through a dirty air filter. That can lead to a stuffy nose, watery eyes, coughing, and even skin problems.
Replacing or cleaning your air filters as often as the producer recommends is necessary, and may even need to be done more often if you live in a dusty area.
Temperature Differences Trigger a Runny Nose
Sometimes, a stuffy nose is simply caused by the difference between the indoor and the outdoor temperature. If the indoor air is much colder than the air outside, getting inside might be followed by a runny, stuffy nose. Some people react more than others to differences in temperature, but the effect should last only a few minutes. Anything more serious than that may be caused by something else.
There is not much you can do about getting a stuffy nose from the temperature differences, but it is relatively harmless.
The Air Conditioner Dries the Air too Much
Air conditioning acts as a dehumidifier, and your nose might get stuffy if the air is too dry. Other related symptoms are coughing, skin rashes, dry skin, and stingy eyes. If you suspect this might be the cause of your problems, get a hygrometer, a simple measuring instrument that indicates the relative humidity in the air. The Environmental Protection Agency advises keeping it in a range between 30 and 60%. If it’s lower than this, it may be a good idea to invest in an air humidifier.
You Are Breathing Recycled Air
Air conditioners circulate the outdoor air, process it through their filtering and cooling systems, and blow it back inside. Anything wrong with your duct system, air filters, or condenser unit can decrease the quality of your indoor air. If your stuffy nose doesn’t go away and the HVAC professional can’t identify an issue with your AC unit, you may want to consider investing in an air purifier.
Having a stuffy nose may not always be related to the air conditioner, so please make sure there are no underlying health issues, like a viral infection, or a different allergy.