Health Hazards of a Dirty Air Conditioner

How a Dirty Air Conditioner Can Harm Your Family’s Health

It’s easy to forget about your air conditioner. If you’re able to breathe easily inside your home and you change the filter regularly, no problem, right? Not necessarily. Your air conditioner is essentially your home’s lungs, constantly collecting and filtering dust, hair, and more. Dirt accumulates over time, and before you know it, the air starts to smell a little funky. By then, you’re already breathing in years’ worth of debris. Yuck! A dirty air conditioner can negatively impact your family’s health, which is why a deep cleaning may be in order.

Poor Air Quality Leads to Respiratory Issues

If you have allergies, you probably want your home to be a safe refuge from pollen and other allergens. But if your air conditioner is dirty, it’s likely circulating those problematic particles throughout your home. Your filter can only do so much. If your AC is dirty, your allergies could be aggravated and you could experience other symptoms, such as frequent sneezing and coughing.

Dirty ACs can also raise your risk of respiratory disease. Studies have shown that they can contain everything from pesticides to heavy metals to dust mite feces. Constantly breathing in particles of mould, dust, dander, pollen, and synthetic materials can damage your airways and contribute to lasting health problems.

Dirty ACs Attract Pests

You likely clean your home and garage regularly to prevent rats, roaches, and other vermin from moving in. But what’s happening above the ceiling? Dirty ACs are the perfect breeding ground for pests who can then make their way into your home. Worse, they leave droppings and dander, and you could end up breathing in particles from that nastiness.

Also, these animals often carry pathogens and allergens, so their presence could make you sick even if you never come into direct contact with them. If your air conditioning system is dirty, you likely have some unwelcome and filthy house guests. And if they die inside your ACs, you’re in for some disgusting smells and potential pathogen spread.

Clogged Coils and Filters Lead to Moisture Build-up

Ideally, your home’s interior stays nice and dry. Your air conditioner plays a big role in that. When the evaporator coils are dirty, the condensation produced as the unit cools your home will accumulate. If you have a split system, you could have your drain back up with water, causing moisture to spread throughout the home.

As you might imagine, this causes some serious problems. High humidity levels make your ACs ideal for mould and mildew, which can contribute to respiratory problems. Bacteria such as Legionella also love warm, damp environments, and you definitely don’t want to breathe those in. Also, a dirty air conditioner will have to work harder, which means it’s likely to operate less efficiently — and therefore get even dirtier.

How to Clean Your Air Conditioner

As you can see, changing your filter is not nearly enough. Think of your air conditioner as a car. With regular use, its parts wear down and get clogged or dirty. You wouldn’t drive many kilometres every day and never change the oil or tires, right? Yet many people let their air conditioners go years without a proper cleaning.

The air wells, coils and barrel fans are the main areas where dirt can accumulate. This means that the unit itself wont’ work as well, and you’re inviting mould, vermin, and pathogens to take up residence within the system. Dust and debris don’t go away on their own. To get rid of them, you need to make aircon servicing a regular part of your home maintenance.

To fully protect and clean your system, you’ll need a professional air conditioner cleaning service. They have special equipment and techniques to remove debris and restore your air conditioner’s full functionality. If you’ve never had a deep cleaning done and you’ve had your system for at least a year, you’re definitely overdue.


Don’t delay — the health hazards of dirty aircons can sneak up quickly! A dirty air conditioner presents major concerns for your health and safety, and the problem won’t go away without professional treatment. Changing your filter is not enough. For optimal indoor air quality, call in professionals to deep clean your system. If it’s been a while, we recommend hydro cleaning, which allows all parts of the system to be cleaned spotless.

For professional air conditioning in the Cairns area, reach out to Siv Air. Our hydro cleaning service includes a complete inspection of your system and advanced sanitation techniques. It’s time to start breathing easier. Request an appointment today!