More often than not, heat and humidity are used interchangeably when describing the hot weather experienced across the US.
However, any homeowner interested in keeping their HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Cooling) system in tip-top shape will want to know the difference.
Air conditioning systems help to keep homes comfortable even during the hottest days of the year. When you switch on your system at the beginning of the summer season, knowing how humidity affects the air is a great way to both keep your interiors comfortable and keep your air conditioning unit running smoothly for years to come.
Here, we’ll examine the issues caused by changing humidity levels when running air conditioning units. In addition, we look at how you can achieve the perfect temperature to suit your personal environment regardless of the season.
HVAC & Humidity
Ideally, an air conditioning unit helps to reduce the temperature in your home and remove excess humidity through condensation.
More often than not, however, is if the unit is not functioning efficiently then your air conditioning unit will be working far harder than it has to. The excess stress on your machine causes wear and tear to occur faster as well as using more energy as well.
Some people first notice something wrong when their energy levels spike during the summer months. Performance may even decrease until the point that you can no longer achieve the desired temperature.
High humidity is often the cause of issues as it forces your air conditioner to work harder in order to keep up.
When it comes to air conditioners, efficiency is far better than size. Having a larger air conditioner unit will not necessarily provide the temperatures you want and a smaller more efficient unit can typically do the trick if it is well maintained.
One of the most important things you can do when replacing or installing an HVAC system is to properly calibrate the system to the size of your home and purchase accordingly. Hiring a professional does the trick.
Having your humidity levels tested and reviewed by a professional will ensure you are spending as little money as possible.
Signs It May Be Time To Repair/Replace Your Home Air Conditioning Unit
Are you not getting the results you expect from your home AC unit? If this is the case, then based on our experience you will also notice one of the following issues. This is especially true when humidity is hampering the system.
Here are some clear signs:
- The windows in your home are foggy with condensation.
- You can pick up a musty smell in the air inside your home.
- The air feels moist and you can sense the moisture when breathing in.
These signs mean you should act fast. High levels of moisture in your home increase the overall temperature and make it feel hot. It can also cause deterioration of indoor furniture and objects if you are not careful.
How You Can Remove Humidity from Your Home
Humidity levels naturally increase during the summer. It is recommended that you keep the level of humidity down below 60% for optimal comfort levels.
The most efficient (and costly) way to remove excess moisture from your home is to have a professional install a dehumidifier. Typically installed directly on to the HVAC system, it can provide a temporary solution that will keep you from having to replace the entire system.
How does the dehumidifier work? After installation, it will pull any excess moisture not being picked up from your system and remove it through the existing ductwork. An expert can examine your current HVAC system and then recommend the proper unit for your needs. Once fully in place, you will be better able to control humidity and temperature levels simultaneously.
A second option is that you can purchase a dehumidifier that is stand-alone. Using the indicator on the device, you can manage the levels accordingly. Some units come with sensors to automatically turn on and off when it is time. These units do collect moisture from the room and will require you empty a water collecting bucket.
What about Heating Systems & Humidity?
Summer isn’t the only time you should worry about humidity levels. During the winter months, decreasing levels of humidity can make your rooms feel cooler.
In the winter, low humidity becomes the primary problem in many homes, as cold air is not able to hold as much moisture as warm air.
You will know if it is too dry if you begin feeling irritation in your nasal passages, your sinuses are acting up, your skin is overly dry, or your eyes feel dry.
Excessive dry temperatures can cause damage to your furniture as well. Look for peeling and flaking on some materials to see if it may be time to increase the humidity level. 71 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit is the typical comfort range when humidity levels are kept at the right level.
How You Can Add Humidity to Your Home
Consider purchasing a humidifier. These machines provide moisture to a room decreasing your heating load.
The device flows air through a system of ducts that help to add moisture. Typically, setting it to 30-40% is more than enough to keep your house and family happy. You can either purchase a stand-alone unit or consider getting an addition to your existing HVAC system.
Remember, if you have any questions; ask a professional and good luck!