Legionnaires’ Disease: What This Illness Has to Do With Your HVAC System

Published on: February 24, 2016
Family working in kitchen | AC Southeast®

You might know that poor HVAC system maintenance can increase asthma and allergy symptoms. However, sometimes other threats can linger within your Alabama home’s infrastructure. Legionnaires’ disease, in particular, can result from poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

What Is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection. Most people don’t develop Legionnaires’ disease, even after exposure to the Legionella pneumophila bacteria. The people who are most at risk include the elderly, as well as those with chronic respiratory problems.

The bacterium thrives in moist environments, and it can cause severe symptoms that include coughing, fever, and chills. It can cause serious, long-term health problems, but most people recover quickly with the right antibiotics.

How Is Legionnaires’ Disease Related to HVAC Systems?

The Legionella pneumophila bacteria have sparked numerous conversations in the HVAC community over the last few years because it’s been linked to poorly maintained HVAC systems — particularly those with built-in humidifiers. Authorities have found Legionella pneumophila in the cooling towers of air conditioners. Although it’s a rare occurrence, Alabama residents still have to monitor their homes.

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Legionnaires’ Disease?

Your best defense against Legionnaires’ disease is to maintain healthy IAQ in your home. For instance, Alabama residents often face severe humidity. Running a dehumidifier in your home can reduce moisture content in the air, which robs the Legionella pneumophila bacteria of the environment it needs to thrive.

It’s also a good idea to have our authorized dealers inspect your home at least twice a year. They’ll alert you to any issues with IAQ and offer suggestions for improving it. You might need to change your air filter more often, install a whole-home dehumidifier, or have your ducts cleaned.

Most homeowners never have to worry about Legionnaires’ disease. However, if you’re concerned about poor IAQ in your home, let AC Southeast®’s authorized dealers inspect your HVAC system and perform any needed maintenance to protect your family against bacteria and other pollutants.