Do Air Conditioners Help Clean Indoor Air Pollution?

By Shannon Gurnee
In Home Reviews
July 20, 2019
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This is a partnered guest post about indoor air pollution.

Sometimes, we just never think too deeply about our actions- for example, why you bought an air conditioning system for your house.

If I asked you about your perhaps recent purchase of an air conditioner, your answer might be one of the following:

“It’s an essential device for my home”

“It has aesthetic relevance; I just like how it looks!”

“It’s for my comfort; who doesn’t have an air conditioner?”

“Why are you asking me, anyway? It’s supposed to be my house, not yours!”

Hey, chill friend. I just want you to think critically about how to use a product differently such that it changes your life, and if need be, to change your mind about the efficient usage of your household equipment.

Now, that we’re even, can we delve a little bit deeper into the use of these devices known as air conditioners? Good.

The cooling effect of an air conditioner cannot be undermined. But, do these air conditioners have any effect on the things that really affect our entire well-being such as air pollution?

living room in home air conditioner

Air pollution is the release of pollutants into the air, which is in one way or the other, detrimental to the standard of living of humans, our health, and even our planet as a whole. Common indoor pollutants that might warrant you buying an air conditioner include:

Pollution from cooking equipment

If you spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen (as many of us do), this should be of interest to you. If you think you don’t spend as much time in the kitchen, all you have to do is calculate how many times you walk into the kitchen over the next one week, (and the average number of minutes spent there each time), and you’ll be baffled!

Since the kitchen is a very important area of the home and one that’s very much prone to causing and worsening indoor air pollution, we need to figure out how we can reduce this, and improve our own lives.

Cooking equipment such as stoves and gas cookers contribute to air pollution, increasing the amount of carbon monoxide in circulation. When carbon monoxide gets into our bodies, it starts to fight with oxygen for space, leading to a lower rate of oxygenation and subsequently, oxygen deprivation in essential organs of the body such as the brain. Nah, that would be too much of a price to pay!

Thankfully, technology has afforded us the option of an air conditioner. Unlike a fan which just suspends heat and moisture in the ceiling (which obviously comes down when the fan is off), air conditioners completely expel it. So directly or indirectly, the use of air conditioners has helped in cleaning indoor pollution.

Pollution from cigarettes

Apart from affecting our internal health such as causing prominent male pattern baldness in men, smoking could be another source of air pollution in our homes. In fact, most people gradually kill their lungs by inhaling smoke not necessarily resulting from cigarette used by them, but those used by occupants with whom they share living space. You might not be a smoker, but if you live with one, you just might be sharing the health disbenefits of smoking! 

In this case, also, getting an air conditioner might seem appropriate. But, this smoke could get stuck in your air conditioner. The condenser coil could actually absorb the cigarette smoke; releasing it later on. Also, when this comes out of the air conditioner having been stuck for a while, the smell gets a little intense. Eliminating the smell might be a hell of a job but thanks to certain parts of the air conditioner, it is achievable.

Another genius idea is purchasing an air purifier. In simple terms, you could think of air purifiers as machines or devices that expel various contaminants from the air to ensure improved indoor air quality. It should be emphasized that not all air purifiers work ‘indoor’ although most of them do. So, when you choose to get one, specifically ask for an indoor air purifier. Air purifiers are particularly good in clearing out contaminants that arise from smoke emanating from a cigarette. Although the odor might still be noticeable, an air purifier takes care of anything that might be a potential risk factor; in other words- contaminant. Again, if you are going to be getting an air purifier to handle cigarette issues, be specific enough to get an air purifier for cigar and cigarette smoke. For emphasis sake, air purifiers do not work alone. They work hand in hand with air conditioners; cleaning up air pollution and generally improving indoor air quality.

Pollution from Volatile Organic Compounds in Household Products E.g. Paint

For instance, shoot a glance at VOCs. Volatile Organic compounds are contained in most paints. In fact, it is responsible for the ‘smell of a new paint’.

When we buy freshly painted furniture, we expose ourselves to the numerous effects of these VOCs. These compounds, as the name implies, are volatile- meaning they easily escape from these paints. Here, an air conditioner might be unable to do a perfect job of clearing this pollutant. Again, on the conquest to eradicate VOCs from your indoor air, you could try other methods.

One of these methods is placing household plants around your home. This may sound a little absurd but it actually works. Let me explain to you how it works. Plants are natural absorbers of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and other airborne contaminants including Volatile Organic Compounds. Placing varieties of the plant around your home can help you remove VOCs directly from the air, saving you the cost of servicing the parts of your air conditioner. Also, proper ventilation of your home is key. Have you come to think of it that what if your home has so much indoor air pollutants because you keep the windows closed all day thinking you’re your air conditioner is there to save the day? How about installing a proper ventilation system? Come on! Crack a window on a nice day to let fresh air in? You could even choose to get hold of the situation by going deeper into the root of the problem- avoiding chemicals which contain VOCs. Instead, go for natural cleaners.

Wrapping Up

Getting an air purifier could be your best shot at conquering indoor air pollution. Portable air purifiers are majorly good for the bedroom and the office. Investing in a high-quality air purifier would be beneficial not only to get our indoor air cleaner but our body healthier.

Also, most air conditioners tend to store up these pollutants; leading to an inevitable need for servicing of their parts. An air purifier doesn’t need servicing! Would it be wise to get one? You bet!

About Has 1708 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

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