We all know that the summer months can get oppressively hot; the heat, the humidity, it can really get to be too much! These are the times when we’re thankful to come into our homes, with the AC on, and check the weather from the comfort of our couch to see what we thankfully don’t have to endure. The temperature might be 94 degrees, but it “feels like” 104- what exactly does that mean, and how does your air conditioning unit handle it? Today, we’re going to learn about how the body feels heat!
A TED talk from 2012 explores the possibility of outdoor air conditioning; in this talk, Wolfgang Kessling explains that after taking a census of perceived comfort levels at outdoor sporting events in Beijing, Orlando, Seoul, Athens and Mexico City, in 86 degree weather responses varied wildly between very comfortable (warm) to not comfortable at all (very hot). This is certainly in no small part because individuals feels comfortable or uncomfortable in different temperatures, but also because of how humidity affects our perception of heat. The human body sweats in order to cool itself down. The heat from our bodies evaporates the sweat; when the water goes from being liquid to gas, it uses that heat in it’s transformation, so our bodies become cooler. While other factors, such as the amount of water we drink, pregnancy and alcohol consumption can also affect how we perceive temperature, the main problem here is that when the air is too humid, our sweat can’t transform into gas; the air is already too saturated with moisture! This is why a dry heat can feel much more comfortable than a damp heat, and why we’re so much more prone to sweating when the air feels soggy.
Air conditioning is incredibly handy to deal with this exact problem. When the air conditioner was invented, it was to keep paper dry enough to stop it from contracting or expanding; in effect, the air conditioner started as a dehumidifier. This means that when you install an air conditioner, you’re also controlling the moisture inside your home; this has huge advantages for keeping cool, as when the air is too humid, we can feel more hot or cold than we would otherwise. The humidity control that comes with air conditioning serves a dual purpose; not only does it keep us feeling more comfortable, but it also reduces dampness in our homes, which means less chances of property damage due to moisture.
All in all, no matter what the “feels like” temperature is outside, we know how air conditioning feels on a hot day – it feels great! Always remember, if it feels like it’s too hot in your home and you need to relax, or it feels like your air conditioning system needs a retouch, you can always get in touch with Classic Air Conditioning, your air conditioning systems company. Keep cool, keep dry, and have yourself a wonderful summer!