Help, I’m Melting! – Temperature vs. Humidity
Welcome one and all, and is often the case, my weekly musings are founded in something that has happened recently in my daily travels. Today’s focus is the topic of humidity and some do’s and don’ts when it comes to your air conditioner and controlling humidity in your home.
First, let’s think about two different days in our South Florida year; one is February 11th at 2:00 pm and the second is July 19th at 6:30 am. The temperature is actually the same at 76 degrees, however, on our February day the humidity is at 53% while on our July morning the humidity is at a whopping 93%, –major difference in the way it feels right? Humidity by definition is a quantity representing the amount of water vapor in the air, and at higher humidity levels we feel hotter because our body’s ability to cool itself is diminished when the moisture content in the air is at elevated levels.
When it comes to the air conditioning system in your home, it is crucial that the system not only cools the home by being correctly sized, it is vital that it does a good job when it comes to pulling humidity out of the air. I can’t speak to other climate zones, however, here you must not under any circumstances set the fan setting on your thermostat to ON vs. leaving it in the auto setting. If you change the setting from auto to the on position the fan in the indoor unit runs continuously even when the outdoor unit shuts off because the thermostat has reached the temperature set point. When the outdoor unit shuts down the Freon stops circulating and all the moisture in the indoor coil ceases to drain and is blown back out into the home. The Freon circulation through the coils is what causes the indoor coil to drain correctly. I can’t tell you the number of calls I have ran over the years when the complaint is humidity in the home and I find the fan in the on position!
Next up, when it comes to dehumidification, if you are shopping for an air conditioner consider upgrading to a variable speed air handler or indoor unit. The air in a variable speed air handler is moving a few feet per minute slower which allows the air to spend more time on the indoor coil thus pulling more moisture out of the air. Some manufacturers have a feature in the air handler that allows it to be set into an advanced dehumidification mode so when the air handler first engages it runs at a very low speed for the first three to five minutes of the cycle focusing on moisture removal vs. cooling.
Elevated humidity levels can cause massive problems in a structure if left unchecked for extended periods of time, the biggest one being unwanted biological growth. Mold is one of the worst problems you can deal with in your home and the expense of cleaning things up and replacing what can’t be cleaned will climb into the thousands very quickly, not to mention the potential health risks associated with those nasty little spores.
As always my friends if you are experiencing humidity issues in your home give us a call and we are on our way, just check the fan setting on your thermostat first please. Until next week, when asked my opinion on shotgun weddings, I said it’s seems a case of wife or death.
House Whisperer out!