You probably don’t think about the humidity in your home until it becomes a problem. You may have never thought about it up until now. That doesn’t stop humidity from affecting your home though. Here we’ll look at the effects of humidity and what you can do to change it.
Humidity measures the amount of moisture (water vapor) in the air in a given space, such as your home. The more moisture in the air, the higher the humidity is considered. The level of humidity in your home, especially high levels, can make your home uncomfortable, and can even affect the health of people living there.
Humidity is often higher in warmer temperatures. The higher the temperature of the air, the more water vapor can be held there. This is because the movement of molecules in air at higher temperatures prevents condensation.
You can test the humidity in your home by looking for signs that it may be high, such as windows fogging. You can also test using a glass of water and some ice.
Simply add a few ice cubes to a glass of water, place it somewhere in your home (do not place the glass in the kitchen as vapors from cooking can affect it), and wait 3 or 4 minutes. If no moisture has formed on the outside of the glass, your air may be too dry. If condensation formed, your humidity might be high.
The level of humidity in your home has an effect on lots of different things, including the soundness of your home and even the health of everyone living there. Here’s why.
High humidity means moisture build-up, and too much moisture can wreak havoc on your home. Condensation can cloud windows. Darker, cooler areas like closets can get mold. An excess of moisture in the air can even lead to stains on furniture, walls, or ceilings. It can also cause wood furniture and fixtures in your home to warp.
High humidity can lead to microorganism growth. Not only mold but bacteria also thrive in environments with excess moisture. This can lead to increased incidence of illness in your household, and mold can exacerbate allergies and asthma symptoms. In addition, high humidity can be uncomfortable because it makes your home feel warmer than it is.
Your air conditioner has a significant impact on the humidity in your home. When your A/C runs, the air in your home is cooled by being blown over the system’s evaporator coils. This transfers the heat from the air to the refrigerant in the coils and the heat is removed from your home.
During this process, the moisture in the air being blown over the evaporator coils condenses. Once the moisture turns from airborne water vapor to liquid condensation, it drips off the evaporator coils to a drain where it is directed outside of the building.
Depending on the heat and humidity, your air conditioner can remove gallons of water from the air in your home in a single day.
The EPA recommends that indoor humidity be kept between 40-60% in order to discourage organism growth (if your humidity is too low other problems can occur). If your A/C needs to remove more humidity than it is, there are a few methods you can use to boost its performance.
A lot of humidity is generated in your kitchen and your bathroom. Luckily both of these rooms often have their own vents that can be used when cooking or taking a hot shower that will add more moisture to the air.
Using these vents helps remove moisture from the air at the source instead of adding to the existing humidity and putting more strain on your air conditioner in order to remove the extra.
The condensate drain that diverts water from the evaporator coils away from your home can get clogged if not properly maintained. Having dirty or dusty air can also cause clogs over time.
Clogged condensate drains can back up and leave you with a water leak that could cause damage to your home. To prevent this from ever becoming an issue, it’s important to keep your HVAc system in good condition.
Change air filters monthly (or as directed) to keep air clean. Remember to schedule an annual maintenance appointment as well. During these appointments experts will inspect your system and take care of any small issues that could become big problems in the future. This inspection will include your condensate drain.
Many HVAC carriers also require annual inspections to maintain the warranty that comes with the system, so make sure to schedule these appointments yearly without fail. Finding out only when something breaks that you’ve unintentionally voided your warning is something no homeowner wants to hear.
Air conditioners only work to remove moisture from the air while they are on. If your A/C unit was improperly sized and is too big for the space in your home, its cooling cycles will be short.
These short cycles often don’t last long enough to effectively remove enough humidity from the air to keep your home comfortable.
This is just one of many reasons you should make sure that the unit in your home is properly sized. Under or oversized units can raise your electric bill without keeping your home the temperature that you want it at. In addition, the strain put on units that are the wrong size can significantly shorten their expected lifespan.
Struggling with high humidity in your home or have questions about how your A/C might be affecting it? Contact the experts at AirOne Heating and Air Conditioning, a San Marcos HVAC contractor, and we’ll bring the comfort back to your home!