You check the outdoor temperature and see that it is close to yesterday’s, yet when you walk outside you immediately feel very uncomfortable. The reason may be that the humidity is higher today than yesterday. That warm and sticky feeling happens because your body is unable to cool itself properly.
Let’s Talk About Sweat
Icky, we know, but sweat is important to your personal comfort. It is how our bodies stay cool. Under normal circumstances, your body produces sweat to create a cooling effect when the sweat evaporates into the surrounding air. When the air around you is already saturated with moisture, the sweat does not evaporate. The result is that you now have sweat staying on your skin, and your body does not get the benefit of evaporation for cooling.
Humidity and Indoor Air Comfort
If the humidity level inside your home is too high, you will feel the same as you do when you are outdoors on a humid day. Two factors can affect your indoor humidity levels: outdoor humidity levels and HVAC performance. Even though your air conditioning system is not specifically designed to manage humidity levels, the HVAC equipment does remove some moisture from the air. In addition to keeping you more comfortable during the summer, proper humidity levels will:
- Reduce the likelihood of mold, bacteria and other harmful irritants from increasing inside your home
- Keep you healthier
- Protect your electronic equipment, furniture and plants from damage caused by excess moisture in the air
Is It My HVAC System Or The Weather?
In order to differentiate between the effects of the weather and HVAC performance, let’s first look at humidity in the Tampa area. Here are some interesting facts:
- Humidity levels are highest in the morning and taper off during the day
- The highest humidity level occurs at around 7:00 a.m.
- The lowest humidity level occurs at around 4:00 p.m.
- Average humidity in the Tampa area is between 85% and 91%
- The highest morning humidity levels normally occur in August and September
Even though humidity is relatively high year-round, the slight increase in August and September may be just enough to make you feel uncomfortable.
Your HVAC system should be tuned to manage the indoor humidity in the Tampa area. If you always have that warm and sticky feeling in the hotter months, contact us and we will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your HVAC equipment.
Humidity Levels for Health and Comfort
Standards have been set for indoor humidity levels. In the summer, we recommend an indoor humidity level below 60%. The recommendation drops to 30% to 40% for the winter months. Because the average outdoor humidity is much higher than the recommended levels, you should take steps to reduce the amount of moisture inside your home.
- Run the vent fan when cooking and after you take a shower.
- Inspect the seals on your dryer vent to ensure that moisture cannot escape into your home.
- Check the seals around your doors and windows, and keep them closed.
And Services can also install a whole-home system that enhances the humidity management of your HVAC system. To learn more, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our professional technicians.