AC Service: Tips for Removing More Humidity from Your Home
Why is removing more humidity from homes such a challenge even with the AC blasting and AC service so readily available? In suburban Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, we are blessed with a tropical climate. It’s warm much of the year, and our proximity to the coast, even miles inland, means the air is naturally more humid for much of the year.
In addition to many sunny and warm days, Houston and its suburbs average 52 inches of rain a year. We also watch the weather closely June through November during Hurricane season, which can drop a lot of rain in a short time.
When you combine warm temperatures and humidity, it can be a recipe for feeling muggy and uncomfortable outdoors. For this reason, many homeowners consider indoor air conditioning and AC service a requirement. Air conditioning removes humidity and cools the air, but sometimes you want to remove even more humidity. The following tips will help you understand the sources of humidity in your house and what you can do to help your air conditioner even more.
How humid do you need it to be indoors?
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, you should shoot for an indoor relative humidity of 60% or less and ideally between 30-50% to feel comfortable. In our area, it’s more typical to be in the 50x range of relative humidity. If the relative humidity is higher than 65%, the air feels heavy and muggy. It may feel uncomfortable because sweat is not able to efficiently evaporate from your skin, disrupting your body’s cooling system.
This is why you sometimes hear weather forecasters talk about the heat index which calculates what the outdoor temperature and humidity feel like in combination. We use the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool app when we are working because it can tell us what the weather feels like so we can adjust how we are working to stay safe. We know if the temperature is in the mid to high-90s outside that we’ll need to be careful how long we work outdoors in the sun or in spaces that are not air-conditioned such as the attic.
How humid is it in your home now?
The easiest way to tell how humid it is indoors is by using a hygrometer which can measure the amount of humidity in a specific area. It is kind of like a thermometer. You can get them as a handheld device with batteries or they can be built-in to your thermostat.
A humidistat, on the other hand, is a device that is built into an appliance such as a dehumidifier or a smart thermostat and is used to control the levels of humidity in the home. Many of the newer thermostats have this functionality built-in, so see if you have this already and maybe didn’t realize it. Ecobee, Google Nest, Honeywell, Ruud Eco Net, and Carrier Cor/Infinity are just a few brands. There are many more.
Keep in mind that the placement of your hygrometer or thermostat is important to get an accurate reading. Placement in a kitchen, bathroom or next to an aquarium is going to give you elevated readings.