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  1. #1

    Help-Health Issues When AC Is Running

    Hi All,

    I need some professional advice. We just moved in (1 month ago) to a brand New construction home. We are experiencing Burning eyes, nose and throat, headaches and dizziness when the Air Conditioning starts running. The builder sent someone out to raise the vent stack on the roof, as they felt it was maybe too close to the fresh air intake. However, after 3 days of "airing" the house out, we decided to test it out and within 10 minutes of the AC running, we started having symptoms. We have a unit in the attic and one in the basement. We seem to get symptoms from both units. When we shut the units off and open the doors and windows, the symptoms subside. I would not expect any of this from a "newly constructed home." Does anyone have an inkling on what they think it could be? Thank you so much in advance.

    -Heather

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,241
    Mold would be the only thing I could think of. There is nothing in an AC that would cause those symptoms. If there was a refrigerant leak it would have all leaked out by now. Other than that you might be chasing phantoms
    America; first we fight for our freedom,
    then we make laws to take it away.

    -Alfred E Newman

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,097
    Post pic of water heater, and of both indoor units.

    How close is the fresh air intake to the furnace/water heater exhaust.
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    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,444
    Fresh air intake?? How is that hooked up? Functioning fresh air ventilation should provide an air change in 4-5 hours. If so operate fresh air intake and operate the fan in the "on" mode. Operate 24/7 to do the best that you can. Verify the amount of fresh air deliverd. Should be 80-100 cfm of fresh air, if not increase the fresh air. During the seasons when the outdoor dew points are +50^F and low/no a/c, provide supplemental dehumidification to maintain 50%RH throughout the home. If fresh air inlet is not connected to HRV, consider connecting the fresh air intake to a whole house ventilating dehumidifier. This would provide the proper amount of fresh air, blend the fresh air with the house air, filter both, and circulated the air throughout the home. Whenever the a/c does not maintain <50%RH, the dehumidifier will maintain <50%RH.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  5. #5
    Thanks to all who responded. Just an update and I will also try and attach some photos. The HVAC tech was here and thought that maybe they had not done a "Burn Off" of factory oil. So he had me run the Heat, which I did for a few hours. Then switched the AC back on to try and get the house back to a reasonable temp. Today we had the ducts cleaned and sanitized. I flipped on the AC and within 10 minutes the symptoms began. First burning eyes, then throat then headache and dizziness. The carbon monoxide alarms have not gone off and there is NO signs of mold.

    BeenThere, the fresh air intake and the furnace exhaust are maybe 8 inches from each other. I will try to attach photos.

    Thanks again everyone for the advice. Nothing like buying a new home and feeling like you can't stay there. I feel like I am grasping at straws.Name:  HPIM2876.jpg
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    7,048
    Looks like the door to the blower compartment is not on correctly which would pull in air from attic other than that everything looks good from here

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Fayetteville NC
    Posts
    18

    Health

    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum. In order to post a response here, you must have verified qualifications and have been approved by the AOP Committee. You may ask a question by starting a new thread.

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    Last edited by jpsmith1cm; 09-18-2012 at 08:58 PM. Reason: non AOP member

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    7,048
    So you ran the heat and had no problems then turned on the ac and the health problems started?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,671
    Serviceyourac

    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum. In order to post a response here, you must have verified qualifications and have been approved by the AOP Committee. You may ask a question by starting a new thread.

    You can find the rules for posting and qualifications here.

    Additional infractions may result in loss of posting privileges.

  10. #10

    Confused

    That was my bad. After the gentleman cleaned the ducts today, I went up to look. The door is on properly now and was while it was running. (That is the system that is in the attic.) We are now cleaning the Humidifier filters as they were covered in what looked like calcium and rust. Thanks for the help.

    Also, I forgot to add that the symptoms happen with the AC and the Heat. I even have symtoms when the "fan" is running.

    We only have static ventilation in the attic. I can't help but think that something is going on with the ventilation.
    Last edited by Heather432; 09-18-2012 at 09:21 PM. Reason: Additional info

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,097
    Is your water heater gas fired also? And does that exhaust near the fresh air intake.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  12. #12
    Yes the water heater sits right next to the basement system and the exhaust and the fresh air intake are only about 8 inches apart. And yes the water heater is powered by Natural Gas.
    Last edited by Heather432; 09-18-2012 at 09:24 PM. Reason: additional information

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,097
    Good chance your getting the fumes from the water heater drawn into the intake.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

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