Is The Auto A/C Air Making You Ill?

Auto A/C air which isn’t functioning properly can do more than make you hot and miserable during summer, it can even make you ill. The reason for this is because the air which is circulated throughout the cabin, even when cool, might have various problems which if left unchecked can adversely impact your health.

The Culprit Is Often Mold

Mold can develop within the A/C evaporator, where the environment is both damp and dark. Although the evaporator is tasked with cooling down air that leaves the vent, it tends to become moist when doing so which provides an ideal area for mold growth. Since the air which travels into the evaporator and cabin must pass through this mold, bacteria are circulated into the air which can then enter your body and make you sick. In rare cases it can even cause pneumonia, which can become life threatening. However, most drivers will merely experience annoying respiratory problems, like coughs, sneezes or a tightening chest.

How You Can Detect Mold In Your A/C

Most drivers don’t clean out their air conditioning units as often as they should. If the filter is not changed periodically, various types of fungi and bacteria will accumulate over time. One type is called black mold, which develops due to excessive moisture which comes from condensation that is produced as cool air circulates. This and other microorganisms can reside in the A/C and ultimately cause respiratory issues. The first step in determining whether they are present in your air conditioning is to disassemble and clean it. You should also the change the filter at least once a year.

Symptoms To Watch For

Aside from sneezing, coughing, or a tightening chest while driving, there are other symptoms which indicate your air conditioning is dirty, two of which are dizziness or headaches.  A number of studies conducted on dirty air conditioning systems found that those exposed for extended periods of time could develop various neurological problems such as headache and fatigue. Becoming fatigued or dizzy while driving could put both the driver, passengers and nearby pedestrians at risk of accidents, so this is an issue that should not be taken lightly.

Another symptom is dry nasal passages and skin. When your body is exposed to dry, frigid air for long periods of time, the natural moisture of the skin will be lost. Some drivers also develop heat tolerance, meaning that because their bodies become acclimated to cool surroundings, they become extremely intolerable to excessive heat once their A/C is no longer available.


Aside from regularly cleaning your A/C and changing the filter, there are other solutions you can employ. The first of these is to lower the temperature so you aren’t freezing. Also, you may want to consider turning off you’re A/C and rolling down the windows to get natural cooling. To prevent dry skin, make sure you’re drinking lots of water and using a good moisturizer.