Can Air Conditioning Trigger Your Allergies?


Air conditioners help beat the heat when the temperatures start to soar in the summer season. But as the indoor air starts to cool, some people start to sneeze, cough, or sniff, making them wonder if they are allergic to air conditioners. Though it is implausible to be allergic to equipment like the air conditioner, the air it circulates through the house may contain some pollutants responsible for triggering your allergy symptoms. In such situations, air conditioners can cause allergies or flare up the existing allergies. 

People that suffer the most from the harmful effects of airborne contaminants circulated by air conditioners include children, elders, or those with pre-existing respiratory issues.

Common allergy symptoms arising from air conditioning 

Let us first look at some common air conditioning allergy symptoms. These symptoms occur in response to breathing airborne pollutants:

  • Fever

  • Watery eyes

  • Coughing

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Sneezing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Digestive issues

  • Headache

  • Respiratory congestion

  • Wheezing

How can air conditioners cause allergies?

Dirty air filters

Dirty or low-quality air filters fail to trap the harmful contaminants present in the air. When the air filters are not cleaned or replaced on time, their efficiency decreases, forcing them to push the pollutants with the cooled air into the house. Standard air filters have their limitations, and they may not filter all contaminants. Get a high-quality air filter and clean or replace it to maintain its effectiveness of filtering the airborne pollutants.

Poor indoor air quality

If the indoor air quality is not good, the air conditioner can distribute the airborne pollutants throughout the home. Here are the common indoor particulates that can cause allergies:

  • Pollen: It enters your home through open doors, windows, clothing, and shoes. It is known to trigger hay fever and sinus-related allergies.

  • Dust mites: They can breed inside the air conditioning unit and feed on human skin. Dust mites are found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, blankets, and other furnishings and are known allergy triggers.

  • Pet dander: Some people are allergic to dander that contains proteins. Air conditioners can circulate pet dander that goes airborne, resulting in allergies.

  • Mold: It can develop inside high moisture areas in the home or inside ducts and air conditioners, from where the spores can travel through the house. Ensure proper duct cleaning and maintenance by a professional duct cleaning company, especially before the allergy season.

  • Bacteria and viruses: When airborne bacteria and viruses like measles, influenza, chickenpox, and legionella infiltrate the AC, air ducts can circulate them indoors, making the family sick.

How to reduce allergic reactions

  • Invest in high-quality air conditioner filters and replace them regularly

  • Keep the doors and windows closed

  • Hire professionals for periodic duct cleaning to improve the air quality and increase air conditioner efficiency

  • Periodically inspect the unit for mold growth

  • Clean dirt and debris accumulated around the unit

  • Regularly clean the vents

  • Get an electric air purifier 

  • Install a whole-house air filtration system

  • Add UV air purifier lights to the ducted HVAC system

  • Consider a whole-house dehumidifier

  • Regularly clean and groom the pets

Air conditioning does not cause allergies, but people show allergic reactions to the contaminants it circulates with the cold air. Invest in regular air conditioner upkeep and air duct cleaning, adopt healthy living habits, and follow the tips mentioned above to minimize the effects of allergens.


Mr. Duct Cleaning offers air duct services, including cleaning, repair, and replacement. We provide air duct sealing, dryer vent cleaning, and furnace cleaning services, too! Our Metro Phoenix, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, and Queen Creek residential and commercial customers can call us at (480)254-5980 today!