If there’s one thing you can be sure of with regard to your customers, it’s that they know how to use Google.
With air conditioners, the Google problem is Legionnaires’ disease. Enter a search like ‘air conditioners legionnaires’ or ‘air conditioners legionella’ and you’ll see no shortage of words on the subject.
If you’ve seen these, it’s a fair bet your customers have. Here are some of the questions you can expect to get asked, and how best to respond.
“I’ve read that air conditioners can cause Legionnaires’ disease, is that true?”
The worst an air conditioner will do is disseminate already-contaminated air throughout a building, which is only an issue with systems designed for larger buildings such as offices. It is a myth that air conditioners in any way “cause” Legionnaires’ disease.
“So how do I make sure I don’t get the disease?”
With that said, there are plenty of sensible cautionary measures that can be taken in order to minimise the risk of the Legionella bacteria spreading through a building. The most important thing is to look at the water system – is the water being stored at temperatures between 20 and 45 degrees centigrade (optimum Legionella breeding conditions)? Is it routinely circulated? Is it rusty, or sludgy, or filled with organic matter and mould? These are all things that can allow the bacteria to multiply.
It’s important to remind customers that any new system is very unlikely to have any bacteria inside it, and therefore a new air conditioner won’t make them ill. What allows disease to spread is a badly maintained system with rust and dirt building up inside it.
There is no substitute for rigorous regular maintenance and the implementation of sensible precautions. In the case of a domestic water system, making sure the water is regularly heated to above 60 degrees centigrade is an excellent start.
“How would I know if I did get it?”
It’s a complex topic, and you never know what a customer might ask next, but if you stick to these key points then you should be able to reassure even the most avid Googler that their air conditioner poses no risk.