Having the AC running in your home or office is great for keeping cool and comfortable in the summer. Unfortunately, air conditioning can also lead to some people developing headaches, and this can occur for a few different reasons. Here we’re going to look at the different reasons that air conditioning can lead to headaches and what steps you can take to prevent or overcome them.

How Air Conditioning Can Cause Dehydration Headaches

One of the main reasons that some people develop headaches when they have their AC running is because of dehydration. As the AC runs, it doesn’t just remove heat from the air but also lots of moisture, and this can sometimes lead to the air in the building becoming extremely dry. This issue with the AC making the air overly dry is obviously less common in more humid places like Baltimore, but it can still occur on those days when the outdoor humidity level is much lower.

Being dehydrated will often lead to you developing a splitting headache. The risk of dehydration is always higher in the summer due to the hot outdoor temperatures. However, constantly sitting in a cold, dry place can quickly cause you to become dehydrated. Luckily, this problem is easy to avoid simply by making sure that you’re drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day.

Blood Vessel Contraction From Cold Air

Having your thermostat set at too low of a temperature when your AC is running can also potentially lead to headaches. The same can also occur if you sit in front of, next to or below a supply vent where the cold air from the AC is blowing directly on you. What happens is that your body can quickly start to become too cold, which leads to your blood vessels contracting in order to preserve heat. This can potentially result in a throbbing headache that feels similar to a brain freeze, which results from the blood vessels in your brain contracting. If you do notice that you frequently develop this type of headache when your AC is running, the solution is usually as simple as turning the thermostat up by a few degrees or moving to where the cold air is no longer blowing directly on you.

Excessively Noisy AC Unit

It’s no secret that loud noises can easily trigger severe headaches and migraines. There may be times when you’ll start to develop a headache because your outdoor AC unit is running too loudly or even just running at a specific frequency that triggers a headache. AC units always produce some noise, but they really shouldn’t ever be loud enough to cause a headache.

If your AC is making excessive noise or producing any triggering sounds like squealing or screeching, it’s a sure sign that you need to have a technician perform an AC repair service. An unusually loud AC unit can often be fixed by making some simple adjustments or replacing certain parts such as the fan bearings or fan motor. If your AC unit is older than 12 to 15 years and runs excessively loud, your only option for overcoming the issue may be to have the unit replaced.

Headaches Caused by Allergens and Chemicals

Probably the biggest reason that air conditioning can lead to headaches is because of all of the allergens and chemicals that it can circulate throughout the building. The issue here is that most homes and offices don’t have adequate ventilation and, thus no way to replenish the air in the building. Without proper ventilation, the air in the building will become extremely stale and polluted, and breathing in this polluted air can easily lead to a headache.

One of the biggest issues is the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and methylene chloride. These chemicals are naturally released or “off-gassed” into the air by many of your home’s building products and furnishings. Chemical cleaning agents and electronics like printers, copiers and even TVs are also a major source of VOCs. Breathing in VOCs can potentially lead to long-term health issues, but it also often triggers severe headaches and other symptoms in many people.

There really isn’t any way to prevent VOCs from being present since they are given off by many different things in the home. This means that your only real option for overcoming this issue is to install some type of air purification or filtration system. There are a variety of different options you can choose from that will work to filter out or deactivate VOCs and other airborne pollutants so that you can breathe more easily and avoid the headaches and other symptoms that can result from poor indoor air quality.

Installing a mechanical ventilation system is also a great option for improving indoor air quality. Mechanical ventilation works by using two fans to pull the stale, polluted air outside and bring fresh, clean air into the building. This can obviously be a huge help since it will prevent the air in your home from ever being as polluted and help ensure that the concentration of VOCs is much lower.

Professional air duct cleaning can also be a huge help in preventing headaches and allergy symptoms. If your ducts aren’t cleaned regularly, your AC can spread a large amount of dust, pollen and other contaminants into all of your living spaces.

Mold can be an especially big problem when you have your AC running constantly. What happens is that the heat and moisture inside the indoor part of your AC system create the perfect breeding ground for mold to start growing on the evaporator coil. If there is mold in your AC system, the mold spores will spread around the entire building every time your AC runs. Mold is a major allergen and can lead to a variety of symptoms, and constant exposure to mold spores is also known to cause major headaches.

If you’re concerned about mold in your AC system, the solution is to install a coil-sanitizing UV light unit. This type of unit is installed in the air handler compartment and shines powerful ultraviolet rays directly onto the evaporator coil. When the UV rays come into contact with mold particles, they change the particle’s DNA so that the mold is essentially killed or rendered harmless. The UV lights will work to both kill any mold on the evaporator coil and also ensure that no new mold can form. The UV rays will also kill any bacteria and viruses on contact to help prevent illness and keep you healthy.

Expert AC and Indoor Air Quality Services

At At Your Service Heating & Cooling LLC, we specialize in AC maintenance and repairs, and our team has experience working on all makes and models of central air conditioners and ductless mini-splits. If you’re looking for ways to improve your home’s air quality and prevent headaches, we can assist with that as well. We offer professional duct cleaning services, and we install a wide selection of indoor air quality units such as whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers. We also offer professional indoor air quality testing, which is always the first step toward improving indoor air quality. Contact us today to schedule an air quality test or if you need any other HVAC service in the Baltimore area.

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