Do you have any idea what the current humidity level in your home is? Most people hardly ever stop to consider their humidity levels. It’s rarer still to find a homeowner who knows just how those moisture levels can influence the comfort level of their home. Your humidity level should be carefully monitored in every season to help your HVAC system run more efficiently.
If you’ve ever wondered why a technician recommends humidity control systems, this is the time to find out exactly what they can offer your home.
What exactly is humidity?
Before we get too far into explaining why humidity levels matter, it’s important to understand what is being measured. Humidity is simply the measurement of the amount of moisture in the air. There are two specific types of humidity that are typically measured: relative humidity and absolute humidity.
Relative humidity measures how much moisture the air is holding compared to what it’s capable of holding. The amount of moisture that the air can hold will vary depending the temperature. Warmer air can hold more water than cold air. Absolute humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air, no matter what the temperature.
Consider that humidity is most often discussed in terms of the weather forecast. When you walk outside in the middle of summer and it instantly feels muggy, you’re experiencing a high level of humidity in the air. You won’t actually feel wet, even though your skin feels damp and sticky.
What can affect the humidity levels of your home?
The small things that you do every day can have the biggest impact on the humidity levels of the home. Adding more moisture into the air is the quickest way to boost your humidity levels. Taking a shower, doing a load of laundry, and even cooking can all release more moisture into the air and raise the humidity inside your home.
Your heating and cooling system play a big role in keeping your home at a comfortable humidity level. Air conditioners in particular are designed to help release moisture from your home through the drain lines, making it very important to keep these lines open and clear.
Most homeowners may have already been aware of the important role their air conditioner plays, but how exactly does it work? The hot air inside your home comes into contact with the significantly colder evaporator coil which forms condensation from the moisture in the air. That condensation is collected and released through the drain lines, which effectively lowers the amount of moisture stored in the gases of the air.
What is the ideal humidity level for a home?
The ideal humidity level for your home may vary depending on what part of the world you live in. Energy Star tends to recommend an indoor humidity level that ranges from 30 to 50 percent. This recommendation not only allows you to live more comfortably, but it helps to keep your home and family healthy as well.
High moisture levels can lead to dangerous health concerns when maintained over a long period of time. The risk of mold and mildew growth rises considerably when humidity levels are consistently sustained at high levels. Your health should be a prime consideration when it comes to monitoring the humidity level of your home.
Many HVAC companies will recommend setting your humidity level closer to the bottom of that range, particularly in the summer. A higher humidity level can make you feel warmer, even when the temperature is optimal. Instead of bumping the thermostat down a few degrees and raising your electric bill, consider lowering the humidity instead. By decreasing the amount of moisture in the air, your air conditioning unit can maintain the same temperature while making you feel cooler.
In the winter, you may benefit from having more moisture pumped into the air. A little more humidity can make your home feel warmer without asking the furnace to work any harder. The right levels can give you significant savings on your electric or gas bill.
How can a dehumidifier help?
Most people notice the biggest difference with dehumidifiers in the summertime, but how can a unit really help your home? There are two major types of dehumidifiers, both of which can do a wonderful job at lowering the moisture content of your air.
First, you may be able to get a dehumidifier that works in conjunction with your air conditioner. They connect directly to your air conditioning unit and work to pull moisture out of the air as it goes into and out of your home. This is an effective way to manage moisture without putting any additional thought into it.
On the other hand, there is a larger installation cost involved with this type of dehumidifier. You will need a qualified professional to help you hook it up, but it prevents you from having unsightly equipment on the inside of your home.
Second, you may be able to purchase a portable dehumidifier that is capable of pulling moisture out of the entire home. All you need to do is plug it into your most convenient electrical outlet and let it do the work. Be sure to purchase a model powerful enough for the entire square footage of your home.
Homeowners can save money on installation by opting for a portable dehumidifier. However, you will have to find a convenient place to store and run this piece of machinery on a daily basis. For particular homeowners, this could be an eyesore they would rather live without.
Don’t underestimate the important role that humidity can play in making your home both comfortable and healthy. Talk to a reliable HVAC company today to see if a whole-house dehumidifier is the right solution to keep your summer months more comfortable this upcoming year.