Last summer, I was constantly sick and missed a ton of work. I suffered from severe headaches, nausea, congestion, sore throat, and constant sneezing. Since I’ve never had trouble with allergies before, I couldn’t figure out what was causing my symptoms. I went to the doctor, tried prescription medicine, over-the-counter options and even natural remedies. Nothing made a difference. I finally started feeling better when the weather changed. The cooler temperatures allowed me to open the windows and bring in some fresh air. That’s when I realized my air conditioner was the problem. I arranged an appointment with a local HVAC professional, who took the system apart and found an alarming buildup of contaminants. There was mold flourishing on the cooling coil, algae clogging the condensate drain, and dust obstructing airflow through the system. Every time the air conditioner started up, bacteria and pollutants were spread throughout the home, and I was breathing them in. Along with degraded air quality, the accumulation within the inner workings was causing higher energy costs and diminished comfort. The lack of airflow forced the air conditioner to run longer and work harder to meet thermostat settings, putting more wear and tear on components. I’m fortunate that the air conditioner didn’t suddenly malfunction and cost me a fortune in repairs. The professional cleaning didn’t take all that long and wasn’t overly expensive, yet made a huge improvement in the cooling system’s performance. I signed up for a preventative maintenance plan with the HVAC contractor, to avoid this type of concern in the future. The technician will return every spring to complete a full cleaning and tuning on the air conditioner.