Articles, Blog

Is Air Conditioning Making You Sick?

November 5, 2019


Cool air in the hot summer is the best…
but does it make me sicker? Hey everyone thanks for watching DNews today,
I’m Trace. American inventor Willis Carrier invented
the first AC unit in 1902, and it was first put into a theater in 1925 and homes by 1965
after it had spread through commercial and retail spaces. Ancient Roman philosopher Seneca
disparaged the “skinny youths” who ate snow to keep cool rather than bearing the heat
like a real Roman. Basically what I’m trying to is that cooling has been around now but
it Cooling has been contentious forever, and it’s not getting better. People have long felt the pull of “fresh air”
over “indoor air,” and there are some studies that support that idea. The World Health Organization
uses the term “sick building syndrome” (SBS) for people who breathe the air in a specific
building and experience similar acute health effects. A 2004 French study found of 920
women, those who worked in air conditioned buildings were twice as likely to take a sick
day, or visit an ear-nose-throat doctor. Plus, studies have shown cold air weakens the immune
system against viruses in mice, showing cold air MIGHT affect humans too. The thing is,
as AC units cool the air, they also filter it! Fresh air ain’t filtered, it’s au naturale. So though the AC might be cooling the air,
it’s making it better.. maybe? A good air conditioning unit is built around
a system of coils containing chemical refrigerants which absorb heat from the air. The refrigerant
can vary, but it’s usually some configuration of chlorofluorocarbon. The coils are a closed
system of that liquid refrigerant. When the unit is on, the coils absorb heat from the
outdoor air, passing it to the chlorofluorocarbon which becomes a gas. That chlorofluorocarbon
gas is compressed into smaller coils, forcing it to release the absorbed heat and return
to a liquid state. It does this over and over and over again. That heat is blown outside
and the cool air blown inside through a HEPA filter to clean the air a bit! While none of that sounds particularly evil
and doesn’t seem like it would make you sick, for some reason people are still wary
of “indoor air.” In fact, someone once said, “No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin
greater… than central air.” But there’s no direct link between air conditioning and
SBS or any sickness at all, just a correlation. Scientists at the University of Cardiff say,
what’s more likely is AC units dry the air as they cool, which might dry mucous membranes
in the ears, nose or throat, allowing viruses to gain a foothold… that explains the women
who were going to the doctor twice as often. Of course, sickness aside, there are QUANTIFIABLE
problems with air conditioning, AC consumes 5 percent of all US electricity during the
summer; that’s two tons of CO2 per house per year! As the world gets richer, more and more
AC units are sold, requiring more power, and polluting even more. In the US around 90 percent
of households have AC, but in Africa, South Asia, and Central America AC is still rare.
Though in china 64 million AC units were sold in China in 2013 alone! Growing up in Michigan, where the highs can
reach mid-80s with high humidity in the summer; we didn’t even have AC until I was in Middle
School. But I have to say, What’s up with restaurants making it 55 inside when it’s
85 outside? That’s the worst! Air conditioning is great, but c’mon. And yes, I realize this
is a First world problem, fer sure. But this is part of the energy usage issue. The US
Department of Energy says your energy bill increases 1-3 percent for every 1 degree fahrenheit
change (0.56 C), which means for every degree we’re putting MORE greenhouse gas out. Plus,
the warmer your house, the less heat you lose to the surrounding environment, and the less
your AC unit has to work in the summer. 65 degrees (18C) is the optimal temperature for
sleeping, to keep your home appliances humming, and anything below 70 helps you lose weight
naturally!

100 Comments

  • Reply Moroni Perez July 15, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks @Trace Dominguez for this video. ??

  • Reply LDC July 16, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Hey that quote about central air was in Dogma 🙂

  • Reply Ian Christainson July 16, 2015 at 3:58 am

    #dogma

  • Reply friendly911 OS July 16, 2015 at 4:26 am

    isnt CFC bad for the environment?

  • Reply ImVexzy July 16, 2015 at 4:56 am

    I keep my house around 69 at night and 72 during the day. Anyone else the same?

  • Reply blasiushun July 16, 2015 at 7:17 am

    It did make me sick, but not directly because of it.

  • Reply Michael Jones July 16, 2015 at 8:09 am

    65 degrees???? That's too cold. In the winter, I like to heat my apartment up to about 76 and leave it off the rest of the day. If you are insulated well enough, you shouldn't lose your heat to the outside. And vise versa, in the summer I cool the apartment and turn it off the majority of the day. Usually, I leave it off during the night too and always when I leave the apartment. I pay around $30-$35 in utilities.

  • Reply Derek Blais July 16, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Don't use AC. I'm a stoic.

  • Reply Matthew Wong July 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Did anybody else have that dream where the government would build a huge skyscraper (which is actually an AC) that cools down the entire earth so we don't have to sweat anymore. Am I the only one?

  • Reply Antonio Sorribas July 16, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Haha great ending Trace !

  • Reply 7thassasin July 16, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I get nose bleeds from the dry air.

  • Reply maximuscesar July 16, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I live in Rio, in summer is literally impossible to sleep without air conditioning. Those sick 35ºC nights. Now it's winter so around 3~4 AM we sometimes have 18ºC. I can't remember the last time I felt the need of using a sweater. Long history short: air conditioning the whole year.

  • Reply Jack Evans July 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    I'm English and we don't use air conditioning. In our houses anyway.

  • Reply imperialxs July 16, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    CO2 is plant food. and is not warming the plant…. CO2 makes plants greener.  Green House Gas….. You just said it. plant food… The climate is changing due to solar and galactic events.. All Planets are being affected.

  • Reply selfreference2 July 16, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I would think AC in the summer is a lot better than using the heat in the winter.

  • Reply Shaquille Davis July 16, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    I was immune to ac when i lived in malaysia, putting it at 16 degrees all day long. Came to Canada and lived here for 5 years. Went back to Malaysia, and caught a cold every time I turned the ac on.

  • Reply Ciroluiro July 17, 2015 at 2:27 am

    18°C?! I would freeze my balls at that temp! My ac doesn't even go below 16°C. I found that the optimal temperature is around 24°C.

  • Reply Scotch July 17, 2015 at 4:12 am

    you europeans and americans don't have to use as much AC as we asians, lucky you

  • Reply disarmyouwith a July 17, 2015 at 4:32 am

    I've always loved that quote..

  • Reply 24jh42 July 17, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Energi consumption does not have to increase. Despite a significant increase in produktivity and a population growth of 10 % since 1970. The country uses less energy now than 45 years ago.

  • Reply Exit July 17, 2015 at 11:54 am

    simple answer long explain and confuse

  • Reply listepikster July 17, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I live in Denmark, people here rarely have AC partly because we regard it as wastefull, and off course partly because it rarely gets hotter than 30C here ind the summer. i can't think of anyone i know that have AC in their house.

  • Reply Chris Bernardes July 17, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    77F is what I keep my place at. WTF who keeps it below 70F?!

  • Reply Teodor Salceanu July 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    AC is my life and i've been using it for the last 10 years, i usually sleep with it turned on, otherwise i wake up in the middle of the nights sweating……apart from chicken pox, i have never been sick, never taken medicine, so health issues are unknown to me, i just clean the filter every year and thats about it. I never go to places that don't have AC's, if restaurants aren't cold i can't stay there, anithing above 22 degrees celcius is hot to me, and i begin to sweat. So long live AC, i will make a statue for Willis 😀

  • Reply dufusrunescape July 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    the colder you are, the more you eat.  uncle owned a restaurant

  • Reply Nobuhiko Susaki July 17, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Summer sucks!

  • Reply Cecilia Zuber July 17, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    I was in America once, and it was so annoying to always take my jacket with me, not because it was cold outside, no, because it was cold in the restaurants!! that's horrible, who came on that idea?

  • Reply andrew zuo July 17, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Cold restaurants. Time to add to my pet peeves list.

  • Reply BigDaddyD72369 July 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Didn't suck till ya got all political. Keep that shit out or you'll lose views.

  • Reply Predz July 18, 2015 at 3:01 am

    I was the exact 2,000 like
    Yeeeeeesss
    I've always wanted that to happen

  • Reply Maribel Reyes July 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    yup, hate super chilly temperatures indoors when it's hot outside.
    Not only because my nose and throat get stuffy but my muscles hurt from the sudden change in temperature… so I have to carry around tissue for my nose but advil for my muscle pain.

    on a side note, how does a swamp cooler work? I've been told it's better than an a/c for the environment, but that it's too big to be popular right now. I was at a store last night and saw a portable one… I wonder if it's worth buying. If it works differently than an a/c maybe my nose wont get stuffy.

  • Reply Stammer6 July 18, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    I have a skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa simplex. I basically can't survive without air conditioning because too much heat basically causes my skin to boil. Sadly, it means I'm unable to save energy on air conditioning. But I do try to make up for it by being more conscious in other areas.

  • Reply ceplio July 18, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    yeah i hate cold restaurants

  • Reply Unalochy July 19, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Great fed as usual but you showed me an awesome video clip about spicy food, making me want to see it, but I'm on my phone and sadly you didn't post a link to it in the description so I had to search for it. No this is me coming back from that vid and may I say that it was just as good as expected, but please… PLEASE start putting links in the description for videos that you show the clip of at the end of your current video.

    You guys are awesome though 🙂

  • Reply YUniverseVideos July 19, 2015 at 5:06 am

    Holy cow, 90 percent of the people in the US have AC? So I'm the 1 in 10 that don't?

  • Reply HoobaBros July 19, 2015 at 6:19 am

    This is the favorite person to tell the story on Dnews IMO. 😀

  • Reply BIGRED July 19, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I keep it at 68-73

  • Reply The commander July 20, 2015 at 12:56 am

    For maybe God sakes science stop linking results from mice to humans!

  • Reply Crisantechell Muse July 20, 2015 at 5:14 am

    love your shirt lol

  • Reply Aroop Roelofs July 20, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I live on the attic here… altho I don't have a real AC, I build something myself that while not able to cool the whole room, gives me a nice temperature in the corner where I sit… it takes about the same amount of power as my laptop does, so it's not that much…

  • Reply Poptartsicles July 20, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Most homes in Canada don't even have AC (at least not Western Canada). It's only hot enough for a few weeks out of the entire year to warrant them. Although it's still super common in commercial buildings, and not uncommon in condos.

  • Reply Pipe2DevNull July 21, 2015 at 1:05 am

    I don't like the noise of AC units.  Particularly badly maintained or operated ones. I only run mine when its really hot, so I am often listening to the rumble of other less nature connected neighbors.

  • Reply Jean~Luc Picard July 21, 2015 at 4:06 am

    I don't know if it's making me sick but it's sure as hell keeping me alive.

  • Reply Cal Williams July 21, 2015 at 7:30 am

    That still doesn't answer the question, "Does moving from a cold room with AC out into the hot air significantly increase my chances of getting sick?" That's what I came here to find out 🙁 Trace is cool tho 🙂

  • Reply Ally Hernandez July 21, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Yes!!! There's nothing I hate more than sitting in a cold restaurant , I can't enjoy my food comfortably when I'm freezing ?

  • Reply Szznt July 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Liking for the Dogma reference. I need to go watch that again…

  • Reply Nathanael Rose July 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Anything under 70 helps you lose weight naturally? =o

  • Reply Sourav Jaiswal July 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    seriously you guys need AC in 29C. here in india temp gos to 50C with humidity above 90% so it feels like 60+C. AC apart from being luxury its a necessity here..

  • Reply Dot Nerd July 23, 2015 at 2:48 am

    I have an AC that uses water and is eco friendly, it doesn't use these chemicals anymore. I love it, and I don't get sick often (aside from other health problems such as PCOS and hypothyroid).

  • Reply rubirose July 23, 2015 at 4:40 am

    I absolutely hate air conditioning. I've been living in Michigan my whole life with no ac and whenever I spent a lot of time in a place with ac my sinuses get really dry and hurt a lot.

  • Reply jitterball July 23, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    One thing, which wasn't mentioned is that cold virus lives longer in lower temperatures, that's why it's called "cold".

  • Reply Spree Gaming July 23, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    I only feel sick when the car A/C is on, dont know why this happens but it does.

  • Reply Hydro Bear July 24, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Restaurants turn their AC on full blast because a cold environment stimulates appetite.

  • Reply matheusGMN July 25, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    I live in a third world country, sorry I can't have your problem of restaurants being too cold 🙁

  • Reply m Klimas August 8, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    I absolutely hate air conditioning. Why do people wait for warmer weather and then blast the air conditioner to make you shiver? It's like the winter. People blast the furnace so you can cook an egg without a frying pan. Many people I know, have respiratory problems, and they are constantly blasting the air conditioner. No wonder people get summer colds. Air conditioning is overused. I see people complain about their food being cold at restaurants. It doesn't help to be in 55 degree air.

  • Reply captdoe1 August 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    S

  • Reply Cooli3Cut September 14, 2015 at 1:54 am

    I Didnt even watch The vid im just here to answer The question yes The damn A.C gets me sick stuffy nose coughing etc or maybe its just alleegies?

  • Reply oomegalinux December 16, 2015 at 6:25 am

    I don't like AC. I'm staying in a hotel and the first thing I did when I arrived was to turn the AC off and left a note to the housekeeper to leave it that way. The temperature outside is always below 30C so I don't see the need for it.

  • Reply theCybershot123 February 6, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Hi  I have worked on AC units for over 30 years. The biggest problem in my opinion is the routine service of a system iewashable filters checked and washed on regular periods .Panel filters replaced again regular . Biggest problem are dirty condensate trays which are wet and breed all sorts of germs. I have worked on office building that was labelled sick building environment this was fan coil system all with dirty slimey condensate trays. All cleaned.

  • Reply Salman Alam April 2, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Thanks for the good video.

    We should live more in the natural air, sunshine and allow our bodies to cope with the natural temperatures of earths' Seasons.

  • Reply BISWAJIT April 16, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Well I have a question, Why you need to cool your indoors if the temperature outside is only 29 degree C ? I Live in India, right now, the temperature outside is around 42 degree C, but still now I am not using AC in my room. Well that doesn't mean I hate AC, but affording one and the bills here is still a big problem for a middle class family.
    Can you make a video that the people of Asia and Africa where temperature is really really high, should people living there use AC? I think it may cause a health issue too, because the temperature outside will be the TWICE of the temperature inside. Can sudden change of this temperature make us sick ? Please reply if possible.

  • Reply Breathe Easy Home Comfort July 28, 2016 at 1:17 am

    I guess you've never heard of the new inverter technology? these systems run on DC power and preparing little amperage they have up to five stages of cooling loads you might want to look into it they're pretty cool

  • Reply Suman Thapa January 29, 2017 at 11:55 am

    can any one help me with suggestions. .I am sick because of ac from 1 year .I used to sleep in ac at 16 degree c for whole night ..I cannot even walk now.my whole body is cold.i am dying.

  • Reply Geethanjali balaji May 9, 2017 at 9:28 am

    dude CFC has been replaced ever since 2006

  • Reply acers hub May 13, 2017 at 11:47 am

    how can we cope with heat of we don't use ac

  • Reply Preetam Mukherjee May 26, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    dehumidification is a cause… also one factor is that being unable to endure the heat outside.. certainly it will affect harshly for people who have to work mostly outside..

  • Reply Richie Bakari July 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Air conditioning always makes sick when i use it either at home or in car. I think in my knowledge and for sure does a chemical problems in there. The manufactories they need to make sue to give us a clean natural Air with No Chemical involves. For now I am just using a Fan and i feel bette that way.

  • Reply MXJunky July 27, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Why would you lose more weight when its over 21 degrees Celsius?

  • Reply Kata Marton August 10, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    FINALLY!!! Thank u Trace!!! It is a useful vid about AC vs viruses!!! This is so important to get to know if u have an AC u have to make it clean regular!!! And a lot of pp have no idea about that… sadly… Not to mention about temp. differences… I agree with Viktoria6665! When I am not in the office or my house the AC is ON and when I am in the office or house I turn OFF the AC or I am not in the room when it is ON.. This is so easy but I know I am not all the pp XD

  • Reply Brad Horner September 17, 2017 at 8:25 am

    The latest iteration of earthship designs keep your home 70 deg year round (taos, NM climate) no ac, no heat needed. In a basic house swamp coolers can work, I hear. AC starts being really important at about 100F for me. Or if you are suffering from inflammation or for the people recovering I would go for the real deal AC with solar panels and a generator backup to always keep it like 70-80 deg and never go over.

  • Reply Gammareign September 19, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    I don't have central air conditioning in my bedroom. I do have a window unit, but I rarely use it. Instead, I put a fan in an open window and draw air from the outside in. I am rarely sick, but I do have migraines. You can't win them all.

  • Reply Emil Daniel November 1, 2017 at 2:47 am

    I really don't like the cold in restaurants. I am always the first one to stand up and go outside to get some heat.

  • Reply Shubham Nishad March 9, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    I keep my room temperature at 25 degree Celsius in hot summer. It's about 45 degree outside. In night, I keep at 21 degree with sleep mode on. In sleep mode it increases 1 degree every two hours. 18 degree is nice but I have to save money as not rich.

  • Reply Rutinah Tv April 4, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    The cat in the box???,wow nice blue

  • Reply lovdusk April 10, 2018 at 2:57 am

    I dont understand but is ac make you sick?

  • Reply Arvind Singh May 8, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    What about the consequences of recirculating the same air over and over again inside a room for prolonged period (not talking about HVAC with AHU Units)
    Doesn't that deplete Oxygen content and increase other gases %? What about long term health impact of this?
    This is especially dangerous if someone smokes inside and the remainder gases keeps circulating indoors…

  • Reply Mayank Singh May 25, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    I feel cold even at 26°C ?

  • Reply candy review June 29, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I don't like ac

  • Reply Epicboy8000 - July 7, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Aircons are high cost bill so avoid high cost bill it will happen so you cannot take to much air in aircon

  • Reply The News Indian July 9, 2018 at 12:40 am

    good…..#Medianomics

  • Reply fiona fiona July 10, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Private air conditioning isn't really a thing in Germany but we don't often have more than 30C(70f?)

  • Reply A M July 13, 2018 at 1:00 am

    I work in a call center, so I have to suffer everyday having to open my mouth to speak and inhale all of that air everyday I also get fever but no one else seems to get sick so they won't ever shut it down for me -.-

  • Reply Aladin hegic July 29, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Where is this guy from in Michigan?

  • Reply Mohamed Siyan September 19, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    A normal human body temperature is around 37 degree anything more or less temperature is always a hard process for a our body. If you are using AC set to 26 or 27 degree and sleep. "Live long life"

  • Reply Za October 31, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Cold doesn't make me sick however AC units makes me feel like sick, and they absorb my life energy somehow. But other people around me doesnt get affected as much as me… I need to figure it out why…

  • Reply Cyril Gomez December 22, 2018 at 5:11 am

    I'm glad I live in the tropics

  • Reply mzml February 5, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    I hate Acs and I work in big org with tones of ac flowing.

  • Reply Bren Karl February 28, 2019 at 1:48 am

    I always get flu ? maybe this the reason

  • Reply Sagacious Eagle March 28, 2019 at 5:14 am

    In a third-world tropical country where I live, not having AC means you will constantly sweat while inhaling humid air all year round, and opening the windows will just add more pollution in the mixture especially when a neighbour is indifferently burning rubbish (as it is a norm and a non-issue for anyone else).

  • Reply HIYA SHAH May 10, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Very nice video one question I feel acid smell what's reason

  • Reply mamakaka73 May 14, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Now I know the name of the man I hate the most in hystory.

  • Reply Mr. Canvas May 23, 2019 at 8:41 am

    I can't tolerate the environment. I feel like all the water from my throat is gone….I haven't drunk water since last 1 month.

  • Reply Denise Martin July 16, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    I live without A/C by choice in North Carolina. I believe that A/C has caused and/or exacerbated most modern illnesses. Our bodies are made to sweat, and there are seasons for a reason.

  • Reply truth tellor July 21, 2019 at 3:24 am

    You can sweat out a sickness, but not in air conditioning.

  • Reply Pahari Mini July 28, 2019 at 9:47 am

    I can't take AC for 1 minute .. I start sniffing … ?

  • Reply Oshan Ranaweera August 3, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    My air conditioner doesn't make me sick

  • Reply Queenny Rose Ladines September 6, 2019 at 9:04 am

    I'm allergic to dry air

  • Reply Lauren Henley September 18, 2019 at 9:25 am

    it gives me sinusitis

  • Reply Sandie Crisp September 24, 2019 at 1:11 am

    I live in Assisted Living place and when I told them that it is not good to have the A/C on all the time they said they keep it cold to kill germs and Told them that is not true because other germs grow in the cold and they told me to shut up and keep out of their business they are the medical people and not me but when I tell them it's bad for us they just laugh

  • Reply Joe Hood November 4, 2019 at 10:42 am

    You failed to mention one of the most prevalent ways in which AC can make you sick. A buildup of mould or bacteria in the filter or on the evaporator will cause a musty smell as the air being circulated will now contain these foreign particles.

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