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The Impact of Humidity on Your Cooling System

Woman feeling hot and trying to refresh in summertime heatAs chilly as our winters are here in Utah, summers are nothing to dismiss. In fact, our summer can be pretty unbearable, without the right HVAC and indoor air quality products in place. Specifically, knowing how humidity impacts your air conditioning in Kaysville, UT is essential to your comfort and the comfort of your family.

High humidity can damage your air conditioner as it tries, ineffectively, to cool and dehumidify—a job that it does by nature but is not built for. This excess moisture also leaves your home feeling muggy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, this isn’t an issue we have to deal with too much in our area, but it’s important to be aware of so that you’re not overusing your humidifier too long as the weather warms.

The Problem with Excess Humidity

High humidity is defined as a relative humidity level above 50%. Dry air is that which is below 30% relative humidity, which is something that’s pretty common during the winter in our parts, and requires the effective installation and use of a whole house humidifier.

We cool off in warm weather by sweating—more specifically, by allowing the sweat to evaporate off of our skin in a breeze. When these humidity levels get too high, there is too much ambient moisture in the air to allow for this and as a result, our bodies stay heated and the sweat stays on our skin, leading to that gross sweaty feeling when the air is muggy.

Additionally, excess moisture encourages the development of mold, mildew, and bacteria, which no household wants to deal with!

“How Can High Humidity Hurt My Air Conditioner?”

The best way to lower the humidity is to lower the temperature (which is why we experience such dry air in the wintertime). This causes ambient moisture to coalesce into droplets—the same process that creates dew in the early hours of the morning. This means that by default, your air conditioner works as a dehumidifier, but that’s not its intended purpose. It’s a problem.

Your air conditioner cannot control the humidity levels in your home. It removes moisture in the air, sure, but only superficially—you have no say in how much moisture is actually being removed from the air. So, high humidity forces your cooling system to work harder than it should have to in order to do its main job of cooling.

Since the air feels hotter when humidity levels are higher, your air conditioner has to do more, effectively raising your monthly bills along with the risk of premature system breakdown. Over time, high humidity levels each summer could shorten the lifespan of your system. Most air conditioners do have a drain pan to collect condensate, but excessive humidity can overflow the pan, creating a system breakdown.

It’s important to check the condition of your condensate drain and pan on a regular basis to ensure that the moisture created by humidity is being expelled properly. It’s also vital that you track your home’s relative humidity levels, as using your humidifier in the warmer months can certainly exacerbate the issue.

Contact your HVAC and plumbing experts at Rentmeister Total Home Service today for exceptional HVAC and indoor air quality services.

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