Understanding Humidity’s Role in Your Home
When it comes to heating and cooling your home, there’s a factor that people commonly overlook. Temperature isn’t everything; humidity levels make a big difference in keeping your living space comfortable. Here’s everything you need to know about HVAC humidity control.
What is My Ideal Home Humidity?
First of all, what should you be looking for in your home’s humidity level? That’s going to depend somewhat on your local climate and the current season. The amount of moisture in the air outside (higher in summer, lower in winter), is a big factor. This is also true for the temperature both indoors and outdoors.
Generally, though, your home’s humidity level should be somewhere between 40 – 60 percent relative humidity. Relative humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air relative to how much there could be at the given temperature.
The warmer the air is, the more water vapor it can hold. So relative humidity is the measurement that’s used to describe how wet or dry the air feels. It’s the percentage you usually see in weather reports.
Check out this brief article from National Geographic for more general info!
Common Home Humidity Problems
The interaction between temperature and humidity is what keeps your indoor air comfortable. Sometimes, though, that isn’t the case. Here are some of the consequences of poor humidity levels in your home.
Too much moisture in the air can cause mold growth, condensation on windows, and aggravated symptoms with allergies or respiratory issues. It can also damage electronics if excess condensation ends up on the wrong surfaces.
In addition, it can make your home feel muggy, negatively affecting your sleep and comfort.
When the air is too dry, that also aggravates respiratory issues and allergies. It leads to dry and itchy skin, and, sometimes, nose bleeds. This makes you more susceptible to catching a cold.
It can also damage wood floors and furniture. Proper humidity levels help preserve anything made of wood in your house, right down to the structure itself. When the air gets too dry, wood can start to warp and crack.
Also, when your home humidity levels are too low, the air feels colder than it is. This wastes energy as you keep turning up the thermostat to hit a comfortable temperature. With proper humidity levels, it doesn’t take as high of a setting to warm you up.
HVAC Humidity Control Strategies
So, what can you do to make sure your HVAC system isn’t clashing with poor humidity levels? Here are some strategies for reaching comfortable levels of HVAC humidity control.
Ensure Proper Sizing and Installation
If you’re starting from scratch, make sure your HVAC system is properly sized. Make sure it’s equipped with the correct cooling capacity for the space in question. Your HVAC contractor should be on top of this one, but you can’t be too careful.
Be sure to schedule annual maintenance for your HVAC system. This keeps it running as efficiently as possible. The benefit of fresh air filters cleaned condenser and evaporator coils and tightened fuel and electrical connections cannot be understated.
When your heating and air conditioning are running inefficiently, issues with humidity control will get increasingly worse. From the poor ventilation of clogged filters to the strain of transferring heat through grimy coils, improper upkeep means poor moisture control.
Proper Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality
Make sure fresh, clean air is circulated through your home. There are plenty of steps you can take to keep your indoor air as breathable as possible. You can maintain some house plants, avoid synthetic chemical cleaners, or simply run your bathroom or kitchen exhaust fan on occasion.
Check out these tips for improving indoor air quality!
Whole-Home Humidification System
The best method for optimal HVAC humidity control is to install a home humidification system. Portable humidifiers and dehumidifiers are useful but don’t have the same convenience and versatility as a whole-home humidifier.
In the summer, your air conditioner helps facilitate moisture removal from the air. In especially humid climates, it can’t always reach those comfortable levels of relative humidity. A dehumidifier can be installed in rooms where excess moisture is becoming a problem.
Having an HVAC contractor install the dehumidifier directly into the system is the most efficient approach. The same goes for a humidifier when your home feels too dry.
Portable humidifiers can be extremely beneficial in getting rid of itchy skin and sore throats. But installing a humidifier directly into the system will save energy and maintain comfortable moisture control in a much more efficient manner.
If you live somewhere with humid summers and dry winters, a whole-home humidification system is ideal. You can adjust levels as needed, keeping the air as comfortable as possible.
Be Proactive with HVAC Humidity Control
In South Jersey, we experience hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. The best way to keep your home comfortable all year round is to reach out to Laury Heating Cooling & Plumbing.