When you have an aging heating and cooling system, you may find yourself hoping for one more season of use. Delaying investment in new equipment naturally feels comfortable, but running old air conditioners and furnaces could introduce hazards that you’d prefer to avoid. On top of driving up utility bills, old HVAC equipment can increase indoor air pollution and even start fires.
Dangers of Old Air Conditioners
Spread of Microorganisms Through Indoor Air
Bacteria and fungi can begin to build up inside the ducts and machinery of an old AC. This happens because cold refrigerant drops the temperature of the metal coil so that it can cool warm air passing over it. The process also strips humidity from the air. Although the moisture is drained away, the environment remains somewhat moist, which promotes the growth of mold or bacteria. Additionally, a blocked condensate drain can build up water and accelerate the growth of microorganisms.
The internal parts of the AC get hit by bacteria and mold spores from the circulating air. Filters are not sufficient to prevent all contact with microorganisms. Therefore, an aging system that has gotten dirty due to lack of maintenance can start to spread irritating microorganisms through your home.
The polluted indoor air is especially hard on people with respiratory illnesses. The microorganisms can trigger asthma attacks and foster chronic coughs.
Legionnaires’ disease is an extreme example of a bacterial lung disease spread by air conditioners. Although it mostly occurs in very large buildings with dirty commercial HVAC systems, it illustrates the potential harm of microorganisms spreading through your home’s ducts.
New air conditioners use safer chemicals, but many old systems still contain toxic refrigerants. These substances pollute the air when they leak and damage the ozone layer of the planet.
Aside from broader environmental concerns, your exposure to old refrigerant leaks could impact your health. You might experience mild symptoms, like headaches or respiratory irritation. Heavy exposure could produce strong symptoms, such as vomiting and heart palpitations.
Air conditioners work hard. Over the years, wear and tear accumulate. Wiring connections might deteriorate, or other parts begin to malfunction. These conditions increase the possibility of an electrical fire erupting within the air conditioner.
Dangers of Old Furnaces
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Gas-burning furnaces must vent combustion fumes outside. The waste gases from combustion include carbon monoxide (CO). This odorless gas is impossible for you to smell. When it leaks into people’s homes, they get sick and sometimes die.
An old furnace has a heightened risk of malfunctioning and releasing harmful gases into the indoor air. A cracked heat exchanger presents a common example of how an old furnace could leak CO.
Fuel Gas Leaks
Operational wear and tear and corrosion inside a furnace can result in leaks of natural gas or propane. Although a furnace has sensors that monitor for this problem, a broken sensor could leave you unaware of a gas leak. Even slight gas leaks into your home will begin to affect your health.
Faulty wiring or leaking gas in a furnace invite fire. Corrosion and part failures gradually reduce a furnace’s ability to operate safely. For this reason, you should have your furnace regularly inspected by professional furnace technicians.
During a furnace tune-up performed by One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning in Sandy, UT, we check for loose wiring. We evaluate sensors, combustion quality, and venting of waste gases. We check to make sure that you have a clean filter and that the thermostat is performing properly. Regular maintenance by our team will prepare your furnace for another year of safe operation.
Have Confidence in Your Indoor Air Safety
As our name implies, One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning can help you resolve problems with your heating, cooling, and indoor air quality. Our courteous technicians can repair any makes and models of air conditioners and furnaces. To avoid forgetting about crucial maintenance, you can join the One-Stop Club and get a discount on system tune-ups. When you decide that fixing an old system is no longer economically viable, talk to us about installing a new AC or furnace.
We have many options for improving your indoor air quality. You can discuss your concerns with an expert and learn about whole-house humidifiers, UV light treatments, and filters. In some cases, you might benefit from our duct-cleaning services if dirt has built up in your ducts. Contact our office for more information today.