Living in the South, especially the Lowcountry has its advantages: warm weather, lush greenery, and nice people. With all this good, however, there are still a few disadvantages and one big one: humidity. While great for your skin and health, it can be brutal with the South Carolina heat. Your home should be a cool, safe haven away from the heat and humidity, right? Well mostly. Our HVAC professionals break down the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to humidity in your home.
Why is There Humidity in My House At All?
An easy way to understand why humidity is in your home and how to get it out is to compare it to a boat. If you have a boat with some leaks then you may consider installing a water pump to push out some of the water, right? Well, if your boat only has a few leaks, the water pump should be able to handle getting all of the water out. However, if your boat has some big leaks, it may be more than the water pump can handle and you will probably need to repair the leaks or get a bigger water pump. Now imagine your house is this boat and your heating and air system is that water pump.
It is important for any homeowner to understand that all houses leak moisture into them and that all air conditioning systems can remove moisture.
The biggest reason for high humidity in your home is moisture intrusion from outside. This could be through leaky windows, leaky floors, wet crawlspaces, leaky HVAC ductwork, or very small leaks in all of these areas that form a large amount of leakage when combined. Even if your home is sealed up – moisture can still travel through walls, wood floors, and even concrete. However, the rate moisture travels through some products such as concrete may be slow, but it all adds up.
Another way moisture comes into your home is from within the house. Boiling water, taking a hot shower, steaming clothes, or using your dryer are all examples of everyday items that add moisture to a home.
What Humidity Level Should My House Be At?
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air at a given temperature. With this being said, the golden rule is to have your home humidity level at 55% or lower at a 75-degree thermostat cool setting. However, this can be a difficult thing to achieve living in Charleston because of the various beaches, rivers, ponds, and overall environment. If you have high humidity in your house then do not be too discouraged. You are not alone. However, high humidity needs immediate attention from a local HVAC professional.
How Do You Keep Humidity Levels Optimal in Your Home?
Usually, your heating and air system can maintain proper humidity levels in your home. When your air system is operating in cooling mode, it is also dehumidifying the air. As the air travels through the heating and air system, it passes through the cold coil and causes condensation on the aluminum fins of this coil. Similar to a cold soda can with condensation that forms on the house. The soda can is turning water vapor in the air into liquid water. Your HVAC system does the same thing but it has a drain line that takes the liquid water out of the house. However, your heating and air system can only remove so much water from the air. If there is more moisture coming into your home than the HVAC system can remove, your humidity level is going to go up.
Remember the boat analogy? If there are more leaks in the boat than the pump can handle, the boat will sink. If there are more leaks in your home than your HVAC system can handle, the humidity will rise.
With this being said, you should first make sure your heating and air system is operating properly and is the proper size to remove as much water as it can. It is also important to never leave your AC fan in the ON position and to always leave it in the AUTO position during the summer. Additionally, make sure the ductwork is not leaking air out of your house or pulling outdoor air into your house.
Another way to combat high humidity is by installing a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will work with your heating and air conditioning system to remove moisture from the air. A typical air conditioner usually isn’t running all day, therefore it is not dehumidifying all day, but installing a dehumidifier will run constantly to ensure you achieve the desired humidity setting. If you have known leaks, however, then you should consider fixing the problems before adding a dehumidifier.
Here is a quick list of problems that can contribute to high humidity:
- Improperly sized or improperly functioning AC System
- Leaking AC System Fan in the ON position
- Leaky Windows, Doors, and Floors
- Very Humid Crawlspace
- Poorly Vented Attic
- Dryer Vent Clogged
- Bath Fans Do Not Have Backdraft Dampers
- Stove Vent Does Not Have a Backdraft Damper
If you think you may have high humidity in your home, the best thing to do is to consult with local HVAC professionals. We, at AGL Heating and Air, would be more than happy to help and check that your air conditioning equipment is working properly. We also work with great moisture consultants who can take an in-depth look at your house to discover any problems you may have. For more information about humidity or your heating and air conditioning system, please contact us today.