During the summertime, the outdoors can feel muggy and uncomfortable thanks to an average humidity level of 61% in Hanover and the surrounding areas of Maryland. There may be no escape indoors, though, if the humidity levels are too high in your home. Many people believe that AC reduces moisture in the air, but that is not always the case.
Signs of Too Much Indoor Humidity
It’s easy to tell when humidity is high outdoors. You perspire and feel sluggish, and the air just feels heavy. Noticing high humidity indoors, though, is not as easy. Some of the more common signs of too much indoor humidity are:
- Wet, moist skin all over your body
- Mildewy, musty smell
- Water condensation on your windows
- Mold growing in your bathroom, kitchen, and other rooms
Humidity not only takes a toll on your comfort, but it also affects your AC system.
1. Oversized Units Run More Often
The size of a residential cooling system is based on the cooling capacity, not the physical size. At Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating, we service many AC systems that are too big for the interior space. Many homeowners attempt to maximize their budgets by purchasing the largest unit they can afford. The end result, though, is that the unit runs in short cycles that are not long enough to remove moisture from the air. Not only do oversized systems add to a humid environment, but they also cannot cool the air properly.
2. Humidity and Single-Stage Systems
Modern AC systems come in single-stage and two-stage designs. A single-stage system is either on or off, whereas a two-stage system adjusts airflow based on the temperature difference. On humid, cooler days of the summer, a single-stage unit will run a shorter cycle compared to warmer days. This means that the humidity levels in your home remain high, and you feel uncomfortable.
3. Indoor Humidity and Older Units
Many of the homes that we service in the Hanover, Maryland, area have older air conditioning systems. Dehumidifiers are a modern update to cooling equipment. When it’s humid outside, your older unit does not remove the moisture from the air before distributing it throughout your home. No matter how low you set the thermostat, you simply cannot feel comfortable. You will also notice that certain areas of your home feel warmer. Older systems will run longer and more often to reach the desired temperature, and this results in more wear and tear on the parts. Over time, you may find that you’re paying for frequent repairs to keep the system running.
4. Humidity Reduces Cooling Capacity
Outdoor humidity causes condensation on the evaporator coil of your AC system. The moisture mixes with dirt and dust to create a sludge that covers the coil. When air flows over the coil, the dirt prevents proper contact with the coil, and the system cannot cool the air. Your AC unit will continue to distribute the moist, warm air into your home, and the system will likely run longer, costing you more in energy use.
5. Negative Air Pressure and Humidity
Your HVAC system runs with a bit of physics. In ideal conditions, the air pressure inside your home is neutral. This allows for a closed space for circulating air. If your AC system is pumping out too much cooled air, this creates a negative air pressure situation. Your AC unit attempts to regain balance by pulling in more air from the outside, and this outdoor air is muggy and humid. A cycle begins where the AC unit draws in more air that makes your house warmer, and then the unit runs longer and more often to cool the space. More air comes through the ducts, and a second negative pressure situation is created. Eventually, you feel incredibly uncomfortable, and you also face a higher utility bill at the end of the month.
AC Units With Built-In Dehumidifiers
Removing excess moisture from the air inside your home helps your air conditioner work more efficiently, and efficiency equals cost savings for your utilities. Although some newer units come with dehumidifiers, this feature is not intended to maintain healthy, comfortable humidity levels.
The Best Way to Manage Indoor Humidity
If your home feels muggy during the summer, the best option is to get a whole-home dehumidifier. The unit installs onto your existing HVAC equipment. You can set the dehumidifier to a specific humidity level that feels comfortable to you. The recommended level of healthy indoor humidity is 30% to 50%, and you can work within that range to find a comfortable personal level. Another tool for managing indoor humidity is to install a thermal expansion valve. The device increases the amount of humidity that your AC system removes from the air.
Should You Remove All Humidity in Your Home?
If humidity only makes us more uncomfortable during the summer, why not eliminate it completely? Moisture in the air does have some benefits, though. First, it helps to keep our sinuses and mucous membranes moist, and this reduces allergies, sinus infections, and breathing problems. Second, humidity in the air helps to keep plants thriving. Third, the wood furniture in your home benefits from a bit of moisture in the air. Fourth, humidity helps to control static electricity and protects your electronics. The key is to have the humidity within the normal range.
Other Tips for Managing Indoor Humidity
Once you install a whole-home dehumidifier from Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating, there are a few more things that you can do to keep the indoors nice and comfy. Keep the windows closed on the most humid days. Open doors and windows draw in the outdoor air that has more moisture. You should also avoid running your AC system on “fan only” during the summer. Even though the movement of air helps you feel more comfortable, it actually brings in more humidity. Ceiling and floor fans are a better option to improve air flow. You should also check for cracks around doors and windows. These little spaces are just enough for humidity to creep inside. You should also check your attic space for any openings where air can get inside.
AC Maintenance for Cool, Comfortable Summers
Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating offers routine maintenance services for your air conditioning system. We recommend that you schedule the service in the spring before you need your AC. During the appointment, our expert technician checks to make sure that your air conditioning is ready to handle the higher temperatures and humidity levels. We also check the coil and filters for dirt, refill the refrigerant, and check all the connections. We can measure the level of humidity inside your home and recommend improvements, too.
Residential Cooling Experts
If your home is uncomfortable during the summer no matter what you try, it may be time to call Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating to speak with a member of our expert team in Hanover. We can schedule an appointment with one of our technicians to evaluate your AC system and the humidity level inside your home. Call us today, and be sure to ask about our heating, cooling and indoor air quality services.