A ceiling air conditioning unit with a green plant in front of it

What Effects Does Air Conditioning Have On Air Quality?

Air conditioning systems are vital in maintaining comfortable indoor environments, particularly during hot and humid weather conditions. While these systems primarily aim to regulate temperature and humidity levels, they can also significantly impact indoor air quality. Contrary to popular belief, air conditioning can positively affect air quality when properly maintained and used in conjunction with appropriate ventilation strategies.

Read our expert guide below to learn how air conditioning can improve indoor air quality. Are you looking to install air conditioning in Sussex or Surrey? Speak to our team today about our services.

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What impacts indoor air quality?

Household products

Cleaning supplies
Among the factors impacting indoor air quality, household products play a significant role, emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when used. These VOCs can come from cleaning supplies, personal care products, air fresheners, and office equipment like printers and copiers. Common culprits are products containing formaldehyde, chlorine, ammonia, and other harsh chemicals.

Cleaning products are a significant source of VOCs indoors. Bleach, oven cleaners, and furniture polish are loaded with chemicals that can linger in the air long after you’ve scrubbed down surfaces. Personal care products like hairsprays, deodorants, and perfumes also release VOCs.


A cat and a dog on a sofa
Pets also play a significant role in air quality as they can introduce allergenic particles into your home.

Pet dander consists of tiny, microscopic flakes of skin and saliva that carry allergenic proteins. When pets groom themselves or move around the house, these particles can become airborne. Once in the air, they’re easy to inhale, contributing to indoor air quality issues.

Wood-burning stoves

Wood-burning stove with a basket of wood
Wood-burning stoves release particulate matter and harmful gases like carbon monoxide, impacting indoor air quality. When you use these appliances, you’re introducing various pollutants into your home. These emissions can affect everyone, but they’re particularly concerning for individuals with respiratory conditions.

Proper ventilation and regular stove maintenance are essential to minimise these impacts. Remember, while wood stoves add ambience, they also require responsibility to maintain a healthy indoor environment.


Dusty surface being wiped with a sponge
Dust is a complex mixture of allergens that can significantly degrade air quality. Over time, dust particles accumulate, harbouring a potent cocktail of allergens, including pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. When you disturb these particles—whether by cleaning, walking, or even sitting on your sofa—you release them into the air. These allergens can trigger various responses, from mild discomfort to severe allergic reactions.

Mould and mildew

Mould around a window
Mould and mildew can significantly impact your home’s air quality by releasing harmful spores and toxins. When your home struggles with dampness and moisture, it becomes a breeding ground for these microorganisms. They don’t just stay put either; they can spread throughout your home, contaminating the air you breathe.


A lit gas hob
When you prepare meals, especially using gas stoves, you emit pollutants like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter into the air around you. These can significantly deteriorate the air you breathe inside your home.

Nitrogen dioxide, in particular, is a concern because it can irritate the airways and lead to respiratory problems. Particulate matter, on the other hand, can penetrate deeply into the lungs and cause a wide range of health issues.

Pollen and outdoor allergens

A plant with pollen coming off of it
Opening your windows to let in a fresh breeze might seem like a good idea, but it also invites pollen and other outdoor allergens into your home, impacting the air quality and potentially worsening allergies. These allergens can trigger various symptoms, making life uncomfortable for those sensitive to them.

To minimise their impact, consider these steps:

  • Keep windows closed during high pollen counts.
  • Use air conditioning with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
  • Regularly clean surfaces to remove any allergens that have entered.
  • Monitor local air quality reports to stay informed about outdoor allergen levels.

The symptoms of poor air quality

Respiratory issues and Asthma

Poor air quality can significantly impact health, leading to respiratory issues and worsening asthma symptoms. Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath become more prevalent when exposed to polluted air, making everyday activities more strenuous. People with asthma face an even tougher time, experiencing aggravated symptoms, increased asthma attacks, chest tightness, and wheezing. Monitoring air quality in your surroundings is crucial to manage these risks effectively.


Another significant impact of poor air quality on health is the exacerbation of allergies. When exposed to pollutants, symptoms like runny nose and itchy eyes become more common. Your body’s immune response can go into overdrive, mistaking these particles for harmful invaders and triggering allergic reactions. This can affect people who’ve never suffered from allergies before. Managing air quality in your environment is crucial for keeping these allergy symptoms at bay and ensuring a better quality of life.

Fatigue and headaches

In addition to irritated eyes and respiratory discomfort, poor air quality can lead to persistent fatigue and frequent headaches, further diminishing your daily functioning. When exposed to contaminants or low-quality air, you might feel unusually tired or lethargic, even after a good night’s sleep.

Alongside this weariness, you might also experience headaches more frequently than usual. These aren’t just occasional discomforts; they can become a regular part of your life if the air you breathe isn’t clean. Recognising these symptoms as potential indicators of poor indoor air quality is crucial, prompting you to improve your environment.

Skin issues

Poor air quality doesn’t just affect your lungs; it can also wreak havoc on your skin, leading to irritation or rashes. When exposed to pollutants, your skin is your first defensive barrier, but it also bears the brunt. This can lead to several issues:

  • Dryness: Lack of proper humidity can strip your skin of its natural moisture.
  • Acne: Pollutants clogging your pores can lead to breakouts.
  • Eczema flare-ups: If you’re prone to eczema, polluted air can exacerbate your symptoms.
  • Premature ageing: Prolonged exposure to poor air quality can accelerate the development of wrinkles and fine lines.

Protecting and caring for your skin by staying hydrated and cleansing it properly to mitigate these effects is crucial.

Air conditioning and its role in air quality

wall mounted air conditioning system
Air conditioning systems are crucial in maintaining indoor air quality by controlling pollutants and humidity. Your air conditioner is equipped with air filtration and purification mechanisms designed to remove contaminants from the air you breathe. This can significantly reduce dust, pollen, and other allergens, providing clean, fresh air.

Your air conditioning unit is also pivotal in managing indoor humidity levels. Excessive humidity can lead to many problems, including mould growth and increased allergens. Air conditioners prevent these issues by keeping humidity levels in check, promoting a healthier living space. This aspect of air conditioning is essential for your health, as it directly impacts the air quality inside your home.

Practical tips for improving air quality

Installing an air conditioning system

Installing a high-quality air conditioning system can significantly enhance indoor air quality by filtering pollutants and maintaining optimal humidity levels. When you’re considering installation, it’s essential to focus on a few key aspects that can make a big difference in air quality:

  • Select a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) system to capture the smallest particles.
  • Consider the size of your space to ensure the system can adequately circulate and clean the air in your home.
  • Look for systems offering air purification technology beyond basic filtration to target a broader range of pollutants.

Regular maintenance of any existing air conditioning

While selecting and installing a high-quality air conditioning system is a significant first step, keeping it well-maintained is vital to ensuring lasting improvements in air quality. Regular maintenance and cleaning of your HVAC system are crucial.

Over time, air conditioning units can accumulate dust, pollen, and other pollutants, which can then circulate throughout your home if not addressed. Ensuring your system is regularly checked, cleaned, and serviced prolongs its lifespan while significantly enhancing air quality inside your space.

Indoor plants

Incorporating indoor plants into your living space can enhance air quality by naturally purifying the air around you. These green companions act as natural air filters, absorbing pollutants and emitting oxygen, making your home’s atmosphere healthier.

Opt for spider plants, peace lilies, or snake plants, known for their superior air-purifying abilities. Place them in areas where you spend most of your time, such as the living room or bedroom, to maximise their benefits.

Speak to Mechcool today

For personalised air conditioning solutions that meet your exact needs, contact Mechcool today. Located in Horsham, West Sussex, our professionals use the latest technologies to ensure your home or business remains at the perfect temperature year-round.

When you choose Mechcool, you’re opting for:

  • Tailored Solutions: Every property is unique, and so are your needs. We design air conditioning systems that fit your specific requirements.
  • Expert Team: Our air conditioning experts in Horsham are fully qualified, offering top-notch installation, repair, and maintenance.
  • Honest Advice: Need a system designed from scratch or have a project in mind? We provide practical, expert advice to guide you.
  • Free Quotes: We offer no-obligation quotes for all our services in Sussex and Surrey, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.

Don’t settle for one-size-fits-all solutions. Let’s ensure your air quality is optimal and your spaces are comfortable. Give us a call on 01403 791307 or 07584 438322 to discuss how we can help you today.

Posted in Air Conditioning.