We feel it, so we talk about it.
Humidity is a regular topic of conversation in Florida, especially in the warmer months.
Most people know that increased humidity makes them feel hotter on hot days. However, the majority of homeowners don’t realize humidity has a major impact on the efficiency of air conditioning systems. When the humidity in a home is too high or too low, it becomes significantly more difficult to achieve and maintain desired comfort levels and it’s more expensive too.
Understanding how humidity affects your air conditioning system will help keep your home cool and cost-efficient.
Moist air is thick air.
High humidity is the challenge. Here’s a simple way to think about it: Moist air is thick air. It takes more effort for your air conditioner to “condition” the air by removing the moisture and moving the air through your home. If your air conditioner has to work harder it requires more energy, increasing costs. If your air conditioner is not adequately removing the moisture there are typical indicators in your home.
Common signs of high indoor humidity include:
- Moist air — Muggy is the most commonly used adjective to describe air with high humidity. Your skin may feel clammy when you’re inside your home. Bed sheets may feel slightly damp and bath towels don’t dry overnight.
- Condensation — Humidity is vaporized water in the air. Windows are a different temperature than the air and glass is a hard surface. The vaporized water in the air will “condense” on the glass making it appear foggy. When water-dense air is recirculated in your home, it may fog up the windows. Condensation may also form on air vents. An air conditioner which is unable to adequately remove the moisture in the air causes it to stick to surfaces where it exits the duct system. A clear indicator is when droplets form on metal vents.
- Unpleasant Odors — Musty is how most people describe the smell of a damp home environment. Excessive humidity causes dampness around your home and can eventually lead to possible health-related problems. Humid air carries mold, dust, and dander causing it to clump together, enhancing the potential for unpleasant smells and respiratory irritants.
- Long to Get Low — When your air conditioning system is struggling to remove the humidity it may run for a long time to remove the moisture and get the temperature lower to a comfortable level. This uses much more energy and is harder on your air conditioning system and shortens its life.
How Humidity Affects Your Air Conditioning System
Your air conditioner cools your home by removing heat and moisture from the air. When humidity levels are excessively high, your air conditioning system must work much harder and run longer to condition the air. If the system doesn’t have sufficient cooling capacity, it may be unable to effectively reduce the extreme humidity. As a result, your home may have undulating periods of comfort and discomfort.
When humidity levels spike, many air conditioning systems can’t handle the dramatic change. Humidity affects air conditioning negatively because it diminishes the cooling effect. When the humidity is too high, your home will feel warmer than the actual temperature. Your air conditioning system must keep running, but you won’t get the full benefit of using it. In other words, you’ll pay more to cool your home but won’t actually cool it effectively.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
People often assume that a larger and more powerful air conditioner will cool a home more effectively. Actually, that’s factually not true. If your air conditioner’s capacity is much larger than needed, it won’t be able to remove moisture as effectively because more powerful air conditioners don’t need to run as long to reduce the temperature, so there’s less time for it to remove moisture from the air. The result is your home’s humidity level will remain high. For cost efficiency, it’s crucial to install an air conditioner engineered for the size of your home.
Do Dehumidifiers Help?
The single most effective way to contend with humidity to cool a home is by installing a dehumidifier on your air conditioning system. This simple appliance will draw moisture from the air before it is forced through the ducts in your home. Dehumidifiers can be coupled with air conditioning systems allowing you to adjust the temperature and humidity level of your home concurrently.
When humidity levels are balanced inside your home during the summer, your air conditioner is able to function efficiently. You will feel cooler and the air is will smell fresher. You’ll also feel good about your lower energy bill.
Summertime in the Sunshine State can be extremely hot and humid. Ace A/C of Ocala has been serving customers in the Ocala area for years. We are indoor comfort experts, and we can help you handle the humidity in your home efficiently. Call today for a free evaluation of your cooling system and what improvements can be made with your system.