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New Central Air making me sick

Discussion in 'Hypersensitivity and Intolerance' started by dsdmom, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. dsdmom

    dsdmom Senior Member

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    Not sure what is going on and if there is even a correlation but I thought I would see if anybody out there can offer up some ideas. We recently had central air installed - we did not need new duct work so it was just the compressor & unit. The first night that we had it on I felt like I was dying...could not sleep because my heart was pounding, I was nauseas, just felt horrible. I actually got in my car and backed out of the garage and rested for a while until I felt slightly better. I turned off the a/c, threw open all the windows and got a bit more sleep. The next day it took me a couple of hours being out of hte house until I started to feel more normal. I spoke w/ the a/c guy and he came right up that afternoon to check things over. I looked at everything with him and there was absolutely no leaks of any kind, no toxic glues used, etc. So he didn't have an answer and I wasn't sure it was the a/c that was making me sick - maybe I was sick!

    We decided to let the fan run for a few days and leave all the windows open on the off chance there was something that needed to off gas. Things seemed better. Then I had to go out of town on a trip that absolutely wiped me out - I am definitely in a crash from that. But upon return we had the a/c on...the first night I did ok. But last night (now one week after it being installed) I started feeling sick again in the middle of the night. Not as horribly intense but still did not feel good. I've thrown open the windows again but I'm baffled - IF there is a correlation with the a/c, what could it be? I am in a/c all the time elsewhere - in fact on my recent trip I was holed up in a hotel w/ ac and no open windows - I have never had an issue iwth it. So I can't say for sure it is the a/c....BUT if it is....what could it be? Any ideas???
     
  2. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    dsdmom
    Does sound like a refrigerant leak, although the installation guy supposedly checked that. Consider calling another a/c technician to re-assess, or even better an indoor air quality specialist. They can test for the relevant chemicals as well as others. They're in the phone book.

    It's pretty clear they contaminated the system with something that you are sensitive to, probably something the installation guy doesn't believe you should be sensitive to, so isn't considering it. Or he knows, but doesn't want to deal with it, or thinks you're being a whiner....etc.

    I've worked with HVAC techs professionally. Some are great people. Others are inclined to think they know more than everybody else... homeowners, architects, engineers. Difficult to get that type to recognize their mistakes/failures.

    Chat me if you're still here.
     
  3. dsdmom

    dsdmom Senior Member

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    SOC

    Just sent you a msg but forgot to add this guy will take out yhe ac if I want him to. I just don't think he has any idea what could be bothering me. Again IF there's a correlation. I coild just be in a downturn...I don't know.
     
  4. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    Sure, it could just be a downturn. That seems less likely if it starts when you turn on the a/c and stops if you leave the house. :)

    Taking out the a/c may not solve the problem if something is in the ductwork or something like mold was stirred up in the crawlspace during the work. An air quality tester could check for all that.
     
  5. rosie26

    rosie26 Senior Member

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    I could be way wrong here but you could be sensitive to the change in air, could there be an air pressure thing going on that you are not used too.

    I remember when I was very ill, there was a certain library in my area, that I could not bear to go into too. There was something very wrong with their air conditioning. I would feel even more ill a few moments after entering. I remember being shocked that people were having to work in this air. As my health has improved I do not notice sick buildings anymore.
     
  6. sianrecovery

    sianrecovery Senior Member

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    All I would add is that when I trust my body's reactions, rather than talking myself out of them, I do better. My money is on this not just being a downturn.
     
    PhoenixDown and rosie26 like this.
  7. caledonia

    caledonia

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    It sounds like something is offgassing. I had a new oven and it smelled horrible and it made me feel bad. After a couple of weeks of use, it was offgassed and doesn't bother me any more.

    It sounds like your AC may be following this same pattern, since it didn't zap you right away the second time, and the symptoms were less. So my guess would be if you hang in there, it will be ok after awhile.

    My suggestion would be to keep the windows open when running the AC for the time being.

    The way to rapidly offgas things is to heat them up. I'm not getting a good visual if the AC is inside or outside the house or both.

    But anyway, if you wanted to try a rapid offgas, you would close all the windows and crank up the heat all day. Then at night, turn off the heat, open the windows and let everything cool off and air out. Repeat until the problem is gone. It may take a week or two. You, of course, shouldn't be the one going in to open all the windows unless you're wearing a charcoal filter mask. You would want to arrange to stay somewhere else (hotel, etc.) while you're doing this.
     
  8. dsdmom

    dsdmom Senior Member

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    Thank you everyone for the input. I spoke with the hvac guy again and he really is at a loss. I then spoke to someone who does air quality testing and he was very upfront with me as far as what they look for but also that in the majority of cases they don't find an answer. So I'm not positive about going that route yet.

    I did clean some old leaves from the wells outside that allow air into the crawl space where the unit is.

    caledonia I've wondered about the off gassing but I'm just not sure what could be off gassing. I did leave tbe windows open and run it for several days but maybe it needs more time? Its not an option for us to move out right now. Out of curiosity .when your oven was off gassing and you felt bad what did you feel like?

    I'm also not entirely sure I'm not just feeling badly right now. Have consistently been over doing it and it's so hot which makes things so much worse for me. But I guess time will tell.
     
  9. caledonia

    caledonia

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    From what I remember, I felt like I couldn't breath, toxic, probably some anxiety, etc. Luckily, that was something where I could just close the door to the kitchen while the oven was running and be ok.

    For the AC, there could be most anything offgassing - rubber, plastic, paint, lubricants, etc. - in fact it's probably a mixture of all of the above. Even if the unit is outside, air passes through it, and is sent into your house.

    In general, besides avoidance, you can also work on the other end of MCS which is increasing your tolerance to chemicals. People with MCS are very low in glutathione which is the major detoxification substance in your body. People are low in glutathione due to methylation problems. So you if you increase methylation, you will increase glutathione which will relieve your MCS.

    For a quick fix you can try supplementing directly with glutathione and/or NAC, but those may or may not be tolerated.
     
    dsdmom likes this.
  10. rosie26

    rosie26 Senior Member

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    I don't tolerate the smell of new things either. The gasses/fumes they give off. I especially don't like new Hot water bottles, they are very fumy and have a greasy oily feel to the rubber.
     
  11. dsdmom

    dsdmom Senior Member

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    caledonia, I have been taking good amounts of vitamin C in case I've been exposed to something and also generous shots of b12. Figured it couldn't hurt. the glutathione I Have is likely expired so no go on that for now.

    I hope you are right about it just off gassing but I've scheduled an appt to have our ducts cleaned. had them done about a year ago and they say every 2-3 years but I suppose it coudlnt' hurt to get everything cleaned out. HVAC guy said he would be sending someone by next week to take a quick reading to see if there is any refrigerant leaking. Why he hasn't done that so far is beyond me but will be glad to have that done. Ac off for now but I'm nervous for tonight - it just stinks to feel so ill. Have been out of the house most of the day just to avoid whatever might be in here but I do have to live here and god knows often times I just need to lie in bed so I need it to be a safe place.

    Fingers crossed I get this figured out soon.
     
  12. caledonia

    caledonia

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    It sounds like you're taking all the right steps to get this resolved. My fingers and toes are crossed for ya!
     
  13. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    HI Dsdmom,

    I generally let things like shoes, or shower curtains air out for a year or so before using them. I think Caledonia's idea of letting the AC run with the windows open might at least be a good thing to try to see if alleviates your symptoms. -- Good luck.
     
  14. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

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    Something to think about.... mold. Have you had any recent water leakage in your basement?

    Since it is summer, you've likely not been using your heating system much. Spring and early summer brought huge rain storms to many areas of the US. Now that it is hot, we've turned on the air conditioning.

    I've had central air (with forced hot air heating) for years but my heating system is old. The part of the system that removed moisture from the air and condensed it to water was not draining properly so water leaked onto the basement floor without my knowledge. I had never had any leaks in my basement before so the only water was from the heating/air conditioning unit. The leaks were not huge and they were vacuumed up and I the drainage has been working on and off for awhile.

    My health has deteriorated significantly and recent testing (C4a result of 35,600) is indicating that mold may be the culprit. I'm now in the process of replacing the heating system and ensuring that any mold resulting from the leaking water is gone.

    Dr. Shoemaker's information is what lead me to the decision I had to do something quickly. Here is a link to Dr. Shoemaker's site with information on why some people react to things while others don't.
    http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/lab-tests.

    Hope this helps...~ JT
     
    sianrecovery likes this.
  15. dsdmom

    dsdmom Senior Member

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    I'm actually getting the house tested for mold tomorrow. I had another HVAC company in today and they checked everything top to bottom. He pointed out a couple minor things but nothing that would cause me to be having the issues I'm having. As soon as he left I tried to lie down and rest and my god my heart was pounding and I couldn't breathe...it was so awful. I finally called the fire department to talk to them about testing for combustable gases like carbon monoxide and others...they sent a crew out. Very embarrassing but they did not find any gases of any sort. They also checked my daughter and myself for CO and we both measured at zero. So at least i know it's not a gas.

    I'm having the AC removed on Wednesday - nobody knows what the issue is and I don't know if removing it is going to help but I can only pray that it does. Where i live mold is not common unless you have a leak or a flood so I'm sort of doubting that's going to be the case but figured I would test for it anyway.... meanwhile it'd be great if I could live back in my house :( It's like having a horrible dysautonomia flare while I'm in the house and it lessens dramatically when I leave. I did just switch my fans from pointing outwards (to expel things from the house) to bringing air in to see if mimicking being outdoors helps. Also got a couple house plants today. I kill plants so easily so we'll see how it goes :)
     
  16. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I sure hope it solves it to get that AC system out! :confused:

    Sushi
     
  17. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

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    sianrecovery likes this.
  18. dsdmom

    dsdmom Senior Member

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  19. sianrecovery

    sianrecovery Senior Member

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    what method is he using to test?
     
  20. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    dsdmom
    I think you're doing the right thing having it out - why go through all the effort of trying to find what is causing it, when it started with the AC - and you are suffering all this time.
     

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