How Humidity Affects Your HVAC

If you find that your home feels warmer to you, even though the thermostat indicates a comfortable temperature, you might wonder why you can't ever feel comfy at home. Even if all your AC components are working beautifully, humidity can play a big part in weather or not your house feels comfortable -- when it is warm and when it is cold. In dry climates, humidity is not working against you, but in wetter areas, it's a major factor in climate control.

Here's how humidity affects your HVAC and what you can do about it.

1. Cooling is less effective.

When water is in the air around you, it becomes more challenging to remove the heat from the air, which is what your AC unit works to do. Many modern AC units will also dehumidify your air for you so that you can feel the cool, dry air inside.

However, in especially humid climates or during especially humid days, your AC may not be able to handle the load of humidity, so your house will feel warmer and stickier than usual. Some older units may not dehumidify as effectively, so even though you'll have a lower temperature inside, your AC unit will lag behind in removing moisture. You'll see increased electrical bills as a result of the AC running more frequently and for longer in an effort to battle the ever-increasing indoor humidity. 

If your AC is struggling to handle the load of wet air, it's best invest in a large dehumidifier in your home to give your AC a helping hand. In very wet climates, a whole house dehumidifier may be necessary. You might falsely believe that a larger AC unit will solve the problem. But large units can cool a smaller space faster, so they will actually be less effective at removing moisture, since they will run less often.

If you are concerned about your unit's ability to handle the humidity in your house, contact an air conditioning contractor. You might need to install a new compressor that has increased capacity to remove moisture, or you might need to get your current unit serviced so it can at least run as effectively as possible.

You can also help offset the sticky, cloying feeling of indoor mugginess by installing ceiling fans to move the air around. Ceiling fans do not cool the air, but they can make it seem cooler simply because it is moving. 

2. Heating can be a challenge. 

In the summer, humidity works against you in your cooling needs, but in winter (just when you could use some of that wet air to hold more heat inside), humidity levels drop drastically. Even wetter climates experience a large drop in relative humidity, and heating your home becomes harder because it is so dry inside. You'll actually feel cold when your thermostat is set at a cozy temperature of around 75 degrees if your humidity levels are too low in the house. 

Fortunately, it's easier to add some humidity to the air than it is to remove it. You can use a humidifier to help bring some moisture back into the room. You can also boil a pot of water on the stove or open the dishwasher to let out the steam, instead of keeping it all inside. 

If you still are having trouble regulating the temperature inside your home, you may need to get a programmable thermostat and trouble shoot your system for other problems, such as blocked return vents. 

You don't have to suffer through dry winters and humid summers if you have the right tools. For more information, contact a company like Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc. in your area.