A damp, warm, dark space is the perfect habitat for growing mold, mildew, algae and bacteria. Unfortunately, the inner workings of an air conditioner create the ideal conditions for the growth of microorganisms. Whether the cooling system is operating at maximum capacity or sitting idle, contaminants find a way inside. Things like dust, dander and pollen settle on the various components. Over time, the buildup of all these pollutants blocks airflow through the system. Because the air conditioner is only working at a fraction of maximum capacity, it is forced to run much longer and work much harder to achieve the thermostat setting. The added wear and tear on the equipment then leads to more frequent malfunction and premature system failure. Plus, the cooling system is drawing far more energy to operate and costing more in electricity. Since less cool air is pouring from the vents, the home won’t feel as comfortable. You might start to notice hot spots, temperature fluctuation, and issues with humidity. Whenever the air conditioner starts up, the air passing through the system has the opportunity to pick up harmful mold and bacterial spores and then spread them to every room in the house. Family members then breathe them in and are put at risk of health issues such as respiratory infection and aggravated symptoms of allergies and asthma. The simple solution is to schedule annual maintenance with a certified HVAC contractor. It’s best to handle this service in the spring, right before the air conditioner is needed. The HVAC contractor completes a thorough cleaning and adjustment, ensuring all components are clean and working at their best.