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Why the Air Conditioner May Give You a Sore Throat

Why the Air Conditioner May Give You a Sore Throat

As temperatures rise, you’ll be using your air conditioner more frequently. For many, this also means dealing with an uncomfortable sore throat in exchange for a comfortable, cool home.

Can an air conditioner cause a sore throat? Yes, it can. Air conditioners remove humidity from the air, which can leave your throat feeling dry and sore, especially first thing in the morning. The AC isn’t the only factor, of course, but fixing some common problems can resolve your sore throat woes.

Why Do I Have a Sore Throat?

Air conditioners change the indoor air quality by “conditioning” the air in a room. This removes the humidity, sends hot air outside of your home, and recycles cooled air. Moisture is removed, which can lead to a room being excessively dry and causing symptoms like:

For people with pre-existing conditions or allergies, these symptoms may be more pronounced. But if you notice that you have a sore throat after running your AC, here are some possible reasons why:

Bad AC Installation

Bad air conditioning installation can lead to inadequate air circulation, which causes the system to stagnate. This can create a favorable environment for bacteria, which translates to a sore throat or infection for you. ACs should always be designed and planned prior to installation and properly sized for the room’s size and ventilation.

Cracked or Broken Ductwork

Even the smallest cracks in ductwork can allow dust and dander to get into your ducts. When this happens, it bypasses the air filter and gets distributed into your home, which can result in a sore throat or respiratory infection.

When ducts, like the ones in the picture, are damaged, dust can get into the ducts and cause a sore throat.

Lack of AC Maintenance

Your air conditioner should be maintained by a quality HVAC technician at least once a year. Otherwise, you could have dirty air filters and larger problems throughout the system, such as mold. Make sure to replace your air filters on a regular basis and have the entire system maintained according to manufacturer recommendations.

Closed Vent Control

If you’re always running your system with the vent control closed, the system can’t achieve adequate air exchange with the interior and exterior of your home. Like poor installation, this can cause parts of the system to stagnate. Be sure to run your system with the vent control open.

Make sure the vents in your home stay open
Air conditioning is a wonder of modern engineering that helps keep us cool and comfortable in the summer heat and prevents health conditions like heat stroke. Each of these issues involve ACs being used outside of their ideal design parameters, so it’s not having the AC that’s causing the sore throat as much as it is the problems with installation or use.

What You Can Do If the Air Conditioner Is Giving You a Sore Throat

Checking that your air conditioner is installed and maintained correctly is the first step for not only improving your health but ensuring that your system is running at peak efficiency. If your HVAC contractor can’t find any issues in your AC, you can take some measures to improve your lifestyle and alleviate pain and discomfort.


  • Stay hydrated, especially in hot, humid weather or if you spend a lot of time in low-humidity environments, like an air-conditioned home or office. This is important for your overall health, but also keeps your throat moist and prevents the dryness that can lead to irritation.

  • Keep throat lozenges handy if your throat is feeling dry, sore, or itchy. There are numerous options for strong and soothing lozenges that are safe for occasional use.
  • Spend time outside. Indoor air has an unideal balance of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, especially in closed rooms with poor ventilation. Getting some fresh air is good for your health.

  • Minimize the use of your air conditioner as much as possible. Avoid keeping your air conditioner running all day and night and try using an economy mode that cycles the air on and off as needed.
  • Change air filters regularly. The dry air from a constantly running air conditioner may be enough to irritate your throat, but that can be worse if your air filters are dirty. Make sure to keep your air filters clean.

A side by side image of a clean and dirty air filter. When you air filter is dirty, it is a reason the AC can give you a sore throat

  • Avoid irritants like scented cleaning products, air fresheners, or strong chemicals. These products can all irritate your nose and throat, causing you to blame your air conditioner. You should also keep your home clean and consider using an air filter if you have pets and dander.

If you need AC repairs or maintenance, contact the pros at Adeedo to schedule your appointment!

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