AC Repair Lakeland: How Humidity Affects Your HVAC System (and Your Health!)
Lakeland and Florida residents are intimately familiar with humidity and how much trouble it can bring. It makes it harder to breathe. It makes everything sticky. You never feel entirely dry. It can be brutal – and it can follow us into our homes.
Florida is driest in the spring, but even on reasonable days, humidity hovers around 70%, and it tops out well over 90% in August. Even in best case scenarios, the Sunshine State is more humid than most other regions in the US.
So how does that impact your home? Perhaps you’re here because you’re wondering if the humidity in your home is having some kind of effect your bills. You may also wonder if there is some connection between humidity and how well your equipment works, and how comfortable your home is on hot days.
Here’s a hint: it does, and there is. In fact, it could be doing even more harm than you think.
Your Home’s Ideal Humidity Level Should Be …
According to the EPA, the ideal balance between a “wet” feeling and a “dry” feeling, in terms of humidity, is about 45 percent. Anything between 30 and 50 percent is considered acceptable.
How do I know what my home’s humidity level is?
Totally fair question, and we’ve got you covered. If you want a specific number, there is a tool called a hygrometer that can tell you. Many modern thermostats are already equipped with one of these – if yours is, congratulations! If it isn’t, and you aren’t up to going out to buy one (they’re only a few dollars), there are still other ways you can get a handle on your home’s humidity.
Signs of High Humidity
There are a few signs your home may display to let you know that you’ve got a humidity issue. They include:
Increased allergy symptoms among dwellers in the home.
Mold and mildew growth in damp spaces, particularly kitchens and bathrooms.
Wet stains or water dripping from walls or ceilings.
Condensation on windows and mirrors.
Some of those signs could also indicate water damage (we’ll cover that in another article), but let’s focus on the humidity issue and how it affects your home.
Air Repair Lakeland: What Humidity Does To Your Home
The first thing humidity does is make things smell a little funny. Let’s face it, that’s NOT a small thing. Your home is your castle, and no one likes a stinky castle. Furthermore, humidity can cause condensation.
Think of your home as a coffee table. Got it?
Now think of humidity as a house-sized glass of cold water, sweating over the rim of the coaster. Humidity can cause water staining, paint blistering or peeling, and warping of wooden surfaces. Over time, this could lead to far more serious issues – including structural ones.
Let’s pile on a little more, too. High humidity is rough on your wallet. It eats up energy b y making your air conditioner work harder.
How does humidity do that?
Your HVAC equipment removes humidity from your home as a matter of course. The amount of dehumidification varies from system to system, but as air moves over the evaporator coil it is dehumidified. That’s why water drips into your condensate drain. High humidity makes your system work harder to pull moisture out of heavy, soggy air. It can, and will, reduce the efficiency of your system by a measurable amount, and you’ll see an equally measurable uptick in your monthly electric bill.
Additionally, your system will undergo greater wear and tear. That will lead to more frequent and more expensive calls to your favorite Lakeland AC Repair company.
Lakeland, Florida Air Conditioning: High Humidity and Your Health
Let’s get into the serious stuff. High humidity can adversely impact your health. We’re not doctors, and we don’t claim to be; nope, we fix machines, not people. With that said, we know enough and have studied enough to know what we’re talking about on this score.
If you don’t believe us, ask your doctor about mold and mildew and how they relate to your respiratory health.
The Environmental Protection Agency has done multiple studies which have found that high humidity in the home leads to rapid growth of mold and mildew. Those, in turn, provide a perfect habitat for a wide variety of bacteria to grow in your home. Combined, they reduce your indoor air quality over time, which can worsen or even cause respiratory illnesses.
How High Humidity Can Really “BUG” You
It isn’t just mold and mildew, either. It’s also dust mites. Dust mites are arachnids, like spiders, scorpions, and ticks. They’re basically too small to see with the human eye, and thank god, because you really don’t need to see that.
Unfortunately, even though they’re only two-tenths of a millimeter long and have see-through bodies, they’re also rampant in moist environments. A female can live for 60-70 days and lay 100 eggs in your home. Each mite in your home – and where there is one, there are many – produces 2,000 fecal particles and even more dust particles during their life cycle.
Bug poop. Seriously.
(Yes, I know arachnids aren’t insects. But arthropod poop doesn’t have the same ring to it.)
Would you like to guess where mites prefer to live?
Yeah. Most of them prefer to sleep right in your bed with you. They feed on dead human skin cells, which makes your mattress a never-ending buffet. In high humidity environments, a dust mite population can number in the millions or tens of millions, eating, pooping, and shedding their allergenic skins all over yourformerly clean sheets.
In addition to being completely gross, dust mites are allergenic, and can trigger severe allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. About 10 percent of us are allergic to them, a number that jumps to 45 percent among asthma sufferers.
Itchy just thinking about it?
Air Repair Lakeland Has the High Humidity Fix You Need
The solution for high humidity is so obvious.
Once you know you need to dehumidify, though, you have to figure out how to do it right. Portable dehumidifiers are an option, as are whole-house models that tie directly into your ductwork.
They work by drawing humid air over a freezing coil, and collecting the resultant moisture either in a tub (portables) or a condensate drain (house systems) and blowing the dry air back through the home.
The Portable vs. the Whole-House Dehumidifier: Which Do You Need?
Portable dehumidifiers are cheap and easy. You can plug them in and turn them on, place them in the dampest spaces, and in just a few hours you can grab that tub of water that’s been pulled from your air and use it to water house plants.
On the other hand, they’re noisy and unattractive, particularly in comparison to integrated systems, which are out of sight and silent. They also require more attention, since you have to empty a bucket once or twice a day.
Whole-house dehumidifiers are more energy efficient, and will do a better job for less money, and they don’t require any regular attention. They can be cleaned and serviced during your regular annual AC tune-up, often at no additional cost.
Of course, whole-house system is a larger up-front investment, but they’re significantly more effective, and they can ease the burden on your HVAC system and reduce your bills. Over time, they can pay for themselves in savings.
If you aren’t sure which dehumidifier you need, the experts at Lakeland AC Repair are at your service. Give us a call, and we’ll help you navigate your humidity problem.
Ready To Go? Why Wait?
Dehumidification will increase your comfort and your savings. If you’ve got a moisture problem in your home, why wait on solving it? Our unmatched experts can work within any budget, whether it’s installing a whole-house system or simply helping you purchase and place portable dehumidifiers.
We are certified in the installation and maintenance of any kind of HVAC systems, from heat pumps to split systems to whole-house dehumidifiers. We can help you select the equipment that will get it done, at the price you need and the speed you deserve.
The Air Repair Lakeland Way
We offer 24-hour access by telephone or email, and we never charge for a consultation. Our technicians will get out to you to provide answers right away, and you won’t pay a dime until you’re ready. We also back up all of our work with a Worry-Free Guarantee – if you aren’t happy, we’ll make it right, with no additional charges.
Air Repair Lakeland has served Swan City for years, and we are also available for the rest of Polk County and the Tampa Bay Area, including Polk City, Haines City, Mulberry, Bartow, Fort Meade, Crystal Springs, and more.
Give us a call today, and find out why our reviews consistently rate us the #1 HVAC repair and installation service in the area.