Why the Air Conditioner May Give You a Sore Throat

In the heat of a San Diego summer, you may find yourself running your air conditioner all day and night to handle the heat and humidity. Though this keeps you and your family cool and comfortable, it may come with some unpleasant side effects like a dry, sore throat.

Do air conditioners cause sore throats? Yes, using your air conditioner can cause a sore throat, but it has more to do with the dry air than the air conditioner itself. Air conditioners take the humidity out of the air, which is how it keeps your home comfortable. As a result, it can leave your throat feeling itchy and uncomfortable.

In addition, problems with your AC can make your sore throat worse. Here are some things to look out for.

Why Do I Have a Sore Throat?

Air conditioners work by conditioning the air in the room, improving the air quality. Essentially, air conditioners remove the humidity and send the hot air out of the home, recycling cool air. This removes all the moisture that makes your home feel hot and muggy, but it can lead to the room feeling excessively dry. This can cause symptoms like:

If you have pre-existing health conditions or allergies, you may notice more symptoms from your air conditioner. But if you find that you have a sore throat often, here are some things to check:

Bad AC Installation

Improper air conditioning installation can cause inadequate air circulation. The air becomes stagnant, leading to bacteria and a sore throat or infection. Your AC installation should always be planned by an experienced and knowledgeable HVAC technician and appropriately sized for the room and your home’s features.

Cracked or Broken Ductwork

Any cracks or damage to your ductwork can lead dust and dander to get into your ducts. These contaminants don’t go through the air filter, so they can end up back in your home. With more irritants in the air, you could get a respiratory infection or sore throat.

Ducts, like the ones featured in the photo, can crack and break, which lets dust into your home.

Lack of AC Maintenance

Air conditioners should be maintained by an experienced HVAC technician on a regular basis. Without this, you could have dirty air filters and brewing problems within the system, including mold in stagnant areas. Be sure to replace your air filters regularly and have your system maintained by a qualified HVAC technician.

Closed Vent Control

If you use your system with the vent control closed, it’s unable to maintain the proper air exchanged with the outside and inside air in your home. Similar to poor installation, this leads areas of the system to stagnate and build up mold or bacteria, causing problems with your health. Always run your system with the vent control open.

Keep your vents open.

You’ll notice that each of these problems are outside of the way air conditioners should be used. Generally, a properly installed and maintained AC system shouldn’t cause sore throats or other symptoms regularly.

What You Can Do If the Air Conditioner Is Giving You a Sore Throat

Once you ensure that the air conditioner is installed and maintained properly, you can take some steps to improve your indoor air quality and alleviate symptoms like a sore throat.

  • Make sure to drink plenty of water year round, but especially in hot, humid conditions or if you spend a lot of time in air conditioning and low-humidity environments. This will help your throat stay moist and prevent irritation.

  • Spend time outdoors. Indoor air has an inadequate balance of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, especially in rooms with the AC running nonstop. Get outside and get some fresh air to give your throat, sinuses, and lungs a break from indoor air.

  • Avoid using your air conditioning constantly. If possible, switch to economy mode to cycle the system on and off or try turning the air conditioner off when you leave for work.
  • Make sure to change the air filters regularly. Having dirt, dust, and pet dander flying through the air will only make your respiratory symptoms worse.

Image shows a clean and dirty air filter side by side.

  • Avoid using respiratory irritants like scented cleaning products, strong chemicals, or air fresheners. These products can irritate your nose and throat more, and they may be the actual cause of your sore throat in the first place. You should also consider using an air filter if you have a lot of pets and pet dander.

Looking for AC repairs or maintenance? Look no further than ASI Heating and Air! Call today to schedule your appointment!