Is Your Air Conditioner Worsening Your Cough?

Do you have a cough that has proved stubborn against medical interventions? It’s the worst thing to deal with a persistent illness whose triggers you are having difficulty figuring out.

The apparent problem is the air in your home. Could your air conditioner be the source of the problem? Study the condition of your cough when you turn on your air conditioner to know.

This guide explores why your air conditioning system might be the source of coughs in your home. Also, you’ll learn the different ways an air conditioner can worsen coughs. You can learn more about how regular AC maintenance might help your situation.

Ways your air conditioner could be worsening your cough


Your home can have multiple allergens and harmful microorganisms that can trigger respiratory issues. An air conditioner is often responsible for worsening symptoms by spreading these cough-inducing substances within your home.

Here are some ways in which an air conditioner might worsen your cough in your home.

Dirty air in circulation

One thing that is guaranteed to worsen a cough is breathing dirty air. Typically an air conditioner has a mechanism, such as a HEPA filter, to get rid of air contaminants.

A filter traps allergens, dust, and pet dander which are cough triggers. But, eventually, it gets clogged, and you have to do something to resolve it.

As a house owner, you must clean the filter frequently and change it every three months. Failing to do this will cause the filter to fail in cleaning the air, and the free air pollutants trigger other health issues besides persistent worsening cough.

The filter is not the only part of your air conditioner that could be the source of your cough. Air ducts can also harbor bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Unfortunately, it’s hard to notice these since they are microscopic.

The ductwork circulates polluted air in every room, and you end up with a worsening cough. Regular maintenance and cleaning by a professional keep these elements at bay.

Dry air

Another way your air conditioner could worsen your cough is by distributing dry air. The product is dry air if you constantly have your air conditioner on, whether during the summer when it’s most humid or winter.

The dry air then triggers respiratory distress. Although your cough worsens, living without an air conditioner is impossible. The atmosphere in your home needs to have a 50-55 percent humidity content.

It’s the recommended amount of moisture to make breathing easy. The way to ensure you have sufficiently moist air in your home is by maintaining your AC and installing a humidifier to cater to your whole house or less AC use.

A programmable thermostat can help pace the intervals your air conditioner runs. Ensure that your AC only works within the required limits by maintaining it. A professional can help you identify problematic components that may interfere with humidity content in your home.

The other solution is to install a humidifier to moisturize the air in your home. Humidifiers come programmed to release the right amount of moisture in the air. They come in handy at night when your coughing is likely to increase.

Most humidifiers connect to your HVAC system. Ensure you get one that is compatible with your system. You must be careful with a humidifier, though, so that it doesn’t become another source of triggers for your cough. Clean it regularly to eliminate mold build-up, a known trigger for respiratory issues.

Cold air

An air conditioner’s primary function is to cool and condition the air in your home. Depending on how long you have used your home unit, you know what temperatures work for you. It’s essential to set your thermostat after considering the outdoor temperature. It won’t be much help to have cold air indoors when it’s cold outside.

Still, you can set your thermostat to your preferences regardless of what is going on outdoors. However, increasing temperature by a few degrees will hardly feel uncomfortable unless you overthink it! So, try setting your thermostat between 72-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Leaks in the air conditioner


It’s common to find leaks in the air conditioner. That is because a standard AC drains moisture from the air through the drainpipe. If the leak is excessive, then it means that specific components are malfunctioning.

Problems in the AC redirect the water into your home, which may result in puddles. Puddles are breeding grounds for bacteria that get into the air. The puddles might also cause an increment in your home’s content. Your cough will never go away when these events occur. Repairing AC problems resulting in leaks can help end your coughs.

What does it mean when your air conditioner worsens your cough?

You may have a regular cough that worsens when you run your air conditioner. The condition is also called hypersensitivity pneumonitis or lung disease.

You may be coughing because your air conditioner shows inflammation in your lungs. So, the condition results from the interaction between your lungs and AC contaminants. It’s possible to get ahead of this problem by doing the following.

  • Schedule regular maintenance and repairs for your AC. Enlist the services of an expert in matters of AC maintenance to prevent leaks and replace filters.
  • Minimize the amount of time you run your air conditioner. It’ll help control moisture extraction from indoor air.
  • Install a humidifier- Get an automatic humidifier that can sense when moisture levels in your home reach optimum levels. Keep the humidifier clean.
  • Clean the ductwork- It will help eliminate contaminants and allergens.
  • Set a reasonable temperature in your thermostat. Ensure you render the air in your space safe enough to breathe.

Final Words

A never-ending cough that only seems to worsen is a cause for alarm, and it’s important to target the cause at its source. As shown by this article, an old or dirty air conditioner can easily be the most likely cause of your worsening cough.

It may be time to replace it with a modern model. If not, regular servicing and ducting might help improve your health. However, waiting to see if your health will improve without resolving your air conditioner issue is dangerous, especially with preexisting conditions like asthma.

Back to top button