The excessive Florida heat, combined with humidity. makes us feel hotter, and also has a significant impact on A/C systems. However, many people don’t know that humidity also affects heating systems.
The humidity inside a home matters, because it directly contributes to the home’s comfort level. The HVAC systems of today have begun to include tools to help control humidity, including checking levels and adjusting with humidifiers or dehumidifiers, as needed. Understanding how humidity affects the indoors, and why it needs to be controlled, is the beginning step toward lowering energy bills while maintaining a comfortable home.
Humidity and Air Conditioning
As mentioned, humidity affects how well the A/C unit cools the home. The cooling unit works by taking moisture and heat out of the air. This means that higher humidity levels make the unit work much harder. The unit must have adequate cooling capacity to handle both the heat and the humidity. There are a few ways to know if the humidity is simply too high for the unit to handle.
Clammy, sticky feeling. If your skin feels sweaty and clammy indoors, the humidity may be too high.
Windows fog over. This is due to the vaporized water droplets in a humid home.
A strange smell. A musty, old attic type of smell signals excessive humidity. This is because the home is constantly damp.
A strong A/C system will take moisture out of the air and help reduce humidity levels. However, there are hot summer days when the unit will not be able to handle the excessive moisture levels. Humidity will cancel the cooling process of the unit, and the home will feel warmer. The unit will continue to run but there will be little to no benefit from it. The home is not being cooled effectively, and money is being tossed out the window.
This is why many people may purchase a larger A/C unit, believing it will be more effective in home cooling. That larger unit will not necessarily be more effective. If the overall capacity is larger than the home needs, it won’t handle the excessive moisture effectively. The humidity level inside the home will stay high. Those larger air conditioners won’t run as often, and won’t be able to take enough moisture out of the air. It is essential to buy a unit that is suited for your home size.
Beating The Heat in the Air
The best way to combat humidity year round is to make sure a dehumidifier is installed on the HVAC system. The moisture will be pulled out of the air before it enters the home. A dehumidifier that is paired with an air conditioning unit allows you to control dehumidifying levels and temperature from a central gauge inside the home.
When the humidity level is controlled in the summertime, the air conditioning unit works better. The home feels cooler and is far more inviting in the Florida summer heat. Additionally, you’ll stop throwing away money and the energy bill will be a little lighter. All other issues, such as musty smells, foggy windows or clammy skin should also disappear.
Humidity and Heating
Wintertime brings low humidity levels, which might seem like a relief. However, the lower humidity actually causes problems for heating systems. As humidity levels drop, the home feels colder than its actual indoor temperature. As with the A/C unit, the heater starts to work harder, but the home still does not feel warmer. You’ll turn up the heat looking for relief that will never come, because there is not enough moisture available to warm up the air around you.
The ideal setting for a thermostat is between 72 and 75 degrees. This range is most effect for cost and comfort. However, this range stops working when the humidity level is below 50%. The apparent temperature, which is how a home feels, will be lowered below this percentage.
The best way to combat this issue is with a humidifier in the wintertime. Similar to the dehumidifying device, this device can be attached to the HVAC system. It will add moisture to the dry winter air before it comes into the home. Relative humidity will be kept higher than 50%, making the home feel warmer. As in the summer, the end result is a lower energy bill. The system can be monitored from a central gauge inside the home, so heating and humidity levels can be adjusted simultaneously.
Keeping the humidity inside the home balanced is the secret to reducing energy bills and maintaining a comfortable home. Many people do not realize that a simple adjustment to the HVAC system will reduce year-round energy bills and create a comfortable living environment. Further, the system can be fully controlled from inside the home through every season. One simple adjustment will improve the overall function of the home and provide a place to escape the fickle, sometimes harsh Florida weather.