That first day of the year where it's warm enough to turn on the air conditioning can be a little bit thrilling (yay, spring!). But if you have a window unit, you may want to first consider giving the appliance a good cleaning.
Window AC units work best when they're cleaned monthly and given a thorough de-gunking once or twice a year, experts say.
"As the cool air hits the the warmer air around the machine, it can lead to condensation," explains Michael Rubino, founder of HomeCleanse and author of The Mold Medic: An Expert's Guide on Mold Removal. This mixture of incoming moisture and dust particles already inside the machine is an ideal environment for mold growth.
That can have a negative effect on air quality. "Once the mold is established, the colony will start to produce spores and potentially microscopic toxins, which are then blown throughout the room," Rubino explains.
And if you have a mold allergy, it might also trigger your symptoms or make them worse.
Indoor air quality aside, keeping your unit clean helps ensure that it runs efficiently — and for as long as possible.