When it comes to selling air conditioners, the industry has done an exceptional job, especially in Australia.
Unfortunately one area that has been completely overlooked is educating the public about maintenance, according to Hydrokleen.
In its submission to the parliamentary inquiry into Biotoxin-related illnesses in Australia, the cleaning company said once an indoor unit becomes contaminated with Biotoxins it continually recirculates the dirty air.
“We firmly believe that poorly maintained air conditioning systems are contributing to Australia's health problems and affecting workplace productivity,” the submission said noting that there are over 15 million air conditioners in Australia growing at a rate of some 1.3 million per year.
“The filters in most air conditioners are designed to catch large particles. Air going through the filters can contain mould spores, fungi, DNA, pet dander, dust mites, viral microbials and dirt.
“These particles, which are microscopic, are smaller than a human hair and easily pass through the filters.
“They are both organic and inorganic and attach to the coil, barrel fan and other surfaces of the air conditioners.”
The submission said the next ingredient for mould to grow is moisture, which comes in the form of warm air passing over the cooling coil and causing moisture to form on the coils.
This forms a paste or biofilm.
“The perfect environment has been created to form and make the mould flourish. The condensation runs off the coils into a drain pan which becomes another breeding ground," Hydrokleen explains.
“As the air coming off the coils is unfiltered it is able to pick up the mould spores and distribute them into the room as unfiltered particles.
“The air conditioner is a very efficient system to introduce microbials into the air we breathe.”
Although the air conditioner is designed to improve our health, one that is poorly maintained can cause serious breathing problems.
“An air conditioning system that is regularly maintained normally does not pose a health problem if it has been sized correctly and installed properly,” the submission said.
In addition to filter problems, the submission said oversized inverter air conditioners can cause rooms to go mouldy.
At the same time a dirty air conditioner will use up to 30% more power.
Hydrokleen recommended an education campaign exposing the dangers of poorly maintained air conditioners.
Handing down its final report, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport has recommended tougher standards and changes to the National Construction Code.
It also supports guidelines for medical practitioners to raise awareness about sick building syndrome and other manifestations of biotoxin-caused illness including Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) .