People who live in Florida know that heat indices often climb into the 100s or above – just plain hot. These indices are figured by comparing the temperature outside with the humidity in the air. The more humidity there is, the hotter it feels. As such, controlling indoor humidity is a big deal.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity can be described quite simply as the amount of moisture that is in the air in your home. There is a saturation point at which no more water can be held in the air in its vapor form which varies depending upon the temperature. This is known as the dew point and it is the point at which condensation will occur. In fact, your air conditioner does much more than simply remove heat from your home; its job is to remove some of the humidity, as well.
Measuring the Humidity in the Air
If you do not already have one installed in your home, a hygrometer is a fun little tool that can tell you just how humid it is in your home. They don’t cost much (maybe a few dollars at your local department store or through an online retailer) but they can help you save money in the long run. In fact, many homeowners purchase several of them to place in areas that are notorious for moisture, including bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, crawlspaces and attics.
It Really Makes a Difference
The amount of moisture in the air can have a huge impact on your overall comfort level. For instance, if you have your thermostat set to 75 degrees and the relative humidity is 25%, then chances are high that you will be perfectly comfortable. However, if the room is 75 degrees and the humidity is 65%, then you will likely feel quite uncomfortable. In fact, on the days when it is 85 degrees with 70% humidity, people in Phoenix are breathing easier when it is 110 degrees and dry.
Potential Damage Caused by High Humidity
If it remains incredibly humid in your home for long periods of time, not only will you feel uncomfortable, but there is actually some damage that can occur. Condensation can occur anywhere and on anything. Over time, this can lead to rot and dangerous mold that may actually make you and your family sick. What’s more, it causes your air conditioning unit to work much harder than it should in an effort to cool your home. This is why it is so important to control humidity at all times; even a little bit of condensation in the wrong place can wreak havoc.
Dealing with the Problem
If the humidity level in your home is high, then there are several things you can do. Insulate your home well and be sure to caulk around windows and areas where ventilation is required such as your dryer vents, flue pipes and exhaust systems. Standalone dehumidifiers or those that can be installed alongside your central air unit can really help, as well. While it might be an expensive endeavor, you will see that money returned to you as your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard.
Humidity can be a big problem in your home in terms of your comfort, your wallet and even the structure of your home itself. Managing these levels will help you feel more comfortable and keep your home safe from damage that excessive moisture can cause.