When the air outside feels so much hotter than the weather report indicates, it’s usually because of the humidity. When it’s hot and humid outside, your body cannot cool down the way it naturally does. Normally, your body sweats to cool down, and you feel cooler as sweat evaporates. But sweat cannot evaporate quickly when there is too much moisture in the air. When you go indoors and turn on your air conditioner, you feel cooler not only because the AC removes heat from the air and sends cool air through the vents, but also because it removes moisture from the air. In fact, some of the first air conditioners were invented mainly with humidity control in mind. At Tex-Perts Cooling & Heating, we’re happy to share some tips on controlling your home’s humidity.
What is humidity?
Humidity is what causes your mirror to build moisture when showering. Humidity can be the cause of mold building up in certain areas of your home. Humidity is also what causes us to feel like we are walking around in a sauna. However, did you know that humidity inside your home is what causes it to feel warmer, but has nothing to do with temperature? High levels of humidity in your home can have an effect on your body and comfort levels, your home, and your energy costs.
Humidity is the amount of water vapor that is in the air. Usually, relative humidity is represented as a percentage. The most common and ideal comfort range for humidity levels is between 30-50%. For an example—100% humidity would mean that the air holds all of the water vapor it possibly can, while 0% would mean the absence of moisture in the air.
Humidity can cause us to feel a lot warmer than we really are—which causes us to sweat. However, with higher humidity levels, our body has a harder time evaporating the sweat. The result of this is why many times you may wake up sweating in the middle of a hot summer night. More seriously, this can lead to things like:
- Muscle cramps
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat stroke
How to control humidity in your home
While your health comes first, humidity can also have negative effects on your home as well. High levels of humidity can cause a vast array of issues on your home including musty odors, moist, clammy air, allergies, mold growth, warped wood floors, condensation build-up and much more.
To combat humidity, your air conditioner cools the home by removing heat from the air. The indoor blower fan sucks in warm air from your home and blows it over a coil. This coil contains refrigerant, which is constantly converting from a liquid into gas form as the AC is running. The evaporating refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air with ease and carries the heat outdoors to dissipate, and the coil becomes very cold as a result. The fan blowing past the cold coil is what brings cool air into the home.
As the fan blows over the coil, moisture in the air collects on the coil as condensation. Think of it in the same way as if you brought a glass of ice water outside on a hot day. The condensation that collects on the outside of the coil drains in a condensate pan and moves into a drain.
If your air conditioner or heating system isn’t enough to maintain comfortable humidity levels, there are also dehumidifiers. This simple appliance will pull moisture from their air before it goes into your home. They can be paired with your air conditioner so that you can adjust temperature and humidity levels at once.