Ask G

Ask G: Air conditioners and air quality

Select an air conditioner with a good filter and maintain it well to keep the coughs away

My daughter gets asthma, so I try to minimise allergens in the air at home. Do air conditioners remove impurities from the air and improve indoor air quality?

Jessica Large, NSW

Man with tissue

Achoo! Minimise allergens and dust with some air conditioner TLC.

Credit: Jason Rogers

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All air conditioners have a filter that removes dust, pollen and large particles from the intake air. How much of the air-borne irritants it removes depends on the type of filter.

Consider models with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and other anti-allergy filters. (HEPA is an international standard for filters that trap minute airborne particles.)

Or, consider a separate air purifier device, particularly if you don't really need an air conditioner - once you've got the air conditioner you'll be tempted to use it more than you need to!

Note that it's not just what you buy but also how you maintain it that matters.

One major cause of unhealthy indoor air is bacteria growth, mould and fungal spores in poorly maintained or neglected filters and ductwork.