We all know the uncomfortable, sticky feeling of high humidity outdoors. You've probably said something along the lines of "it's not that hot, it's just really humid," especially if you live in areas like the Delaware Valley, where the three surrounding rivers contribute to high moisture levels in the summer months.
Humidity is far more uncomfortable than dry heat. According to Actions News 5, "when there is high amounts of moisture in the air, the sweat does not evaporate. So instead of cooling off, our body temperature just continues to climb."
Why Your AC Isn't Controlling Indoor Humidity
One of the best feelings during those sticky summer months is stepping inside to cool, comfortable air conditioning. Unfortunately, your AC system might not always be helpful. If you feel like your AC isn't adequately controlling indoor humidity, it could be due to a few different reasons.
Your system is getting old
If your air conditioning system is nearing the end of its life, it simply may not be able to keep up with your AC demands anymore. This can result in insufficient humidity control as well.
One way to increase your HVAC system's lifespan is to keep up with annual maintenance, filter changes, and prompt service if an issue occurs. Keeping the system clean and having it checked out by a professional will increase overall efficiency and prevent minor problems from getting worse.
If it's time to invest in an entirely new system, make sure you talk to an experienced HVAC contractor to find the system best-suited for your home and to make sure it gets installed properly.
Your thermostat is set incorrectly
Although it sounds simple, homeowners oftentimes don't realize that the thermostat setting is messing with humidity control. For example, if you keep the fan set to ON rather than AUTO, you are actually allowing more humidity into the home. Let us explain:
With the AUTO setting, the fan only runs when your AC is blowing cold air. In between cooling cycles, the fan shuts off. With the ON setting, the fan is running constantly, even if when the AC isn't actively producing cool air. Your AC’s refrigerant coils work to absorb heat and moisture from the air inside your home so that cold air is blown into your home and moisture is left behind sitting on the coils. But if your fan is set to ON, the fan will continuously run and blow the moisture right back into your house.
So if you notice the humidity in your home is higher than it should be, check the thermostat to make sure the settings are optimized for maximum comfort.
Your air conditioner is too slow
Traditional AC systems use a fixed-speed compressor, which means the unit constantly runs at either zero or 100 percent. Your AC will operate at maximum power until the room reaches the desired temperature, shut off, then cycle back on when it veers away from the desired temperature again.
If you have a single-speed system like this, your AC probably isn't very good at eliminating humidity in your home. You may want to opt for AC with multiple fan speeds that can quickly adjust to changes in the thermostat settings. For example, Mitsubishi Electric INVERTER technology allows the compressor to always run in the background. This variable compression speed means a quicker and more accurate temperature delivery which, in turn, allows for better humidity control.
Your AC is too big for the space it's cooling
When installing a new home cooling system, it's important that you have a professional HVAC contractor calculate the amount of cooling capacity needed for the space. A unit that is too big or small for the home will struggle to bring your home to the desired temperature.
An AC system that is too big will struggle to regulate indoor temperature and humidity levels. An oversized unit cools your home too quickly, which, doesn't really sound like an issue -- but your system needs to cool your home at the right pace. Proper dehumidification takes time: to remove enough moisture in the air, your AC needs to move enough volume of air over the cooling coil.
You have negative air pressure in your house
By nature, air will always try to equalize the pressure between pockets of itself if possible. If too much air is vented from your home, it will result in the air trying to balance itself by drawing in more outside air. When the outdoor humidity is very high, the air pressure outside your home is higher than the air pressure inside it. This means that the air will be pulled indoors to try to fill up the negative air space.
If any part of your home has open or cracked windows, poor insulation, or other means of outdoor air making its way inside, it will do so whenever the outdoor humidity is higher. An older or inefficient HVAC system will not be able to handle this spike in humidity if it's bad enough.
Solutions to Indoor Humidity
In summary, fixing poor humidity control will depend on the root cause of the problem, and solutions can range from simple to more involved. If the thermostat setting isn't optimized, you will just need to change it to the correct settings. If your system is old or too big for the space, you may need to look into replacement. You can also look into better insulation and sealing any openings in the house to combat negative pressure.
If you're not sure what's causing increased humidity or how to fix it, call up your HVAC company so that they can properly diagnose the problem and propose a solution.
If you live in the Delaware Valley/Greater Philadelphia area and would like to find comfort within your home, visit our website or give us a call at 215 - 245 - 3200 to learn more.