I have not been very good about regular maintenance for my home’s central cooling system.
The air conditioner was a significant investment, so I should have been especially conscientious about taking care of it.
I simply didn’t want to spend the time or money on annual, professional service. I figured that replacing the air filter every now and then would be sufficient. Instead, I ended up with some major problems with indoor air quality. I’d only had the air conditioner for about five years when I first noticed a decrease in performance. There was definitely less cool air coming from the vents. The air conditioner was running for much longer cycles and yet not keeping up with demand. On particularly hot and humid days, my house felt overheated and clammy. I should have called for air conditioner repair. Instead, I turned the thermostat down by a couple of degrees. This added to the demands on the cooling system and cost me a small fortune in energy bills. My family also complained about the odor of the cool air. It smelled musty and a bit like pond water. We all started to have issues with sore throats, congestion and frequent sneezing. I suffered from constant headaches, and my husband had difficulty sleeping at night. At first, I thought we’d all caught some type of summertime flu. I eventually realized that our symptoms only manifested when we were inside the home, and worsened when the air conditioner started up. I finally scheduled repair, and the HVAC contractor discovered that the inner workings of the air conditioner were overrun with mold, mildew, algae and bacteria.