As spring finally transforms into summer, most people start relying more heavily on their air conditioners.
The return of warm weather is the perfect excuse to pull your shorts and swimsuits out of storage, but those higher temperatures can come with significantly higher humidity. This can make it uncomfortable to spend time outdoors, and it can even mean a certain level of discomfort when you’re inside.
When buildings are subject to high levels of humidity on a regular basis, they are more likely to develop mold problems. These issues can bring serious health concerns for those with allergies or for those who are otherwise sensitive to mold.
With elevated temperatures and high humidity levels, people will certainly be tempted to turn up their air conditioning units. This will bring down the ambient temperature, but will it also help to bring down the humidity?
The ability of air conditioning to lower humidity indoors is not oversold. Air conditioning is a remedy for uncomfortable humidity levels.
Bringing Cool Air In Kicks Humidity Out
People sometimes think that the sole purpose of an air conditioner is to blow cool air into a structure. The blowing continues until the building’s temperature is the same as the thermostat setting.
It is true that air conditioners blow cold air into your home or office, but that is not the only thing it does. While delivering cold air where it’s needed, your air conditioner is also taking warm air and humidity out of the building.
The good news is that you do not have to find a specific setting that will instruct your air conditioner to remove humidity from your home. It does so as part of its basic function. Nonetheless, it might be helpful to understand precisely how the air conditioning unit accomplishes this feat.
One of the main components of any air conditioning system is the evaporator coil. Its function is evaporating certain cooling chemicals, which transforms them from liquids to gasses. At the same time, the evaporator coil absorbs heat. Beneath the evaporator coil sits a condensate pan that collects water vapor.
This setup enables the air conditioning unit to consume warm interior air through ductwork. This warm interior air is cooled using the evaporator coil, and moisture is removed from the air. Accordingly, the air conditioner drains and removes moisture from the building and sends it outdoors.
In a nutshell, that’s how an air conditioning unit works.
Let’s state the concept in slightly more familiar terms. When you’re drinking a cold beverage on a warm day, you’ll probably notice moisture, known as condensation, rolling down the sides of the glass. The same process occurs in the air conditioning system as warm air is removed from the building and comes into contact with the evaporator coil. Instead of dripping down the glass, liquid collects from the evaporator coil and is pushed outside.
Why Is It Important to Remove Moisture?
There are two primary reasons for removing excessive humidity in homes and commercial buildings. These are improving the comfort level and eliminating certain health concerns.
Everyone wants to be comfortable in their home, and it’s even desirable to be comfortable while at work to improve productivity and focus. Accordingly, HVAC systems provide a critical function in that they make it more comfortable to live and work indoors.
Whether you’re vacuuming or creating reports on your computer, you’ll be able to perform better when you aren’t wet with perspiration. When you’re in a humid room, it’s impossible to stop sweating, and this can have a detrimental effect on your ability to be productive or even simply relax.
Why is it so impossible to stop sweating in a humid room? The body naturally produces perspiration in an effort to cool itself. Perspiration can evaporate from the skin unless conditions are too humid. Then, it simply clings to the skin and accumulates, leaving you feeling hot but clammy.
It’s as though you are finishing a shower in a hot, steamy bathroom. Your skin naturally feels damp, even after using a towel. When you walk into the adjoining room, which is not steamy, you immediately notice a cooling sensation as the water on your body begins to evaporate.
When your entire home or office is in a constant state of high humidity, it’s like being constantly stuck in that steamy bathroom.
Living or working in humid conditions certainly is not pleasant, but that is not the only reason for using an air conditioning system to remove excess moisture from indoor air. The best reason for doing so is to protect your health and that of your family.
The combination of excessive heat and moisture is a recipe for disaster. That is because these conditions are ideal for producing mold. Now, mold is everywhere, but it thrives and gets out of control when conditions are right.
If you or members of your family are experiencing unexplained symptoms, then you may be having allergic reactions to mold. These symptoms may include:
- Redness and irritation of the eyes
- Watery eyes
Some people experience these and even more severe symptoms. This is especially true for individuals who have asthma, but other people also may develop problems with breathing and high fevers. These reactions are rare, but it is smart to take every available action to ensure that they do not occur.
One of the things that you can do is to add an air conditioning system to your home or office or to ensure that the HVAC system you have is operating at optimal capacity. Delaware Heating and Air can help you to find the perfect air conditioning unit or ensure that your existing system is functioning exactly as it should.
How to Maximize Humidity Removal with Air Conditioning
You can trust your reliable air conditioning system to keep humidity at an appropriate level in your home because removing humidity simply is one of the air conditioner’s basic functions. However, you can do some things to take full advantage of your air conditioner’s abilities. Some of the steps you can take are to:
- Set the fan to auto
- Adjust the speed of the fan
- Regularly change the air conditioner’s filter
- Keep the coils clean
- Ensure that the refrigerant is full
- Install a Thermal Expansion Valve
Setting the fan to auto is one trick that too many people overlook. Using the “on” setting causes the air conditioning unit to blow moisture back indoors, but when you use the “auto” setting, this means that the AC is permitted to turn off in between cycles of cooling. This allows condensation on the coils to drain away so that it cannot reenter the building.
Similarly, if the fan is set too high, the air conditioner won’t be able to remove moisture as effectively. While a higher fan setting does move cooler air indoors more quickly, it does not provide as much opportunity for the system to remove humidity. Lower the fan speed to reduce the temperature of the indoor coil, which helps to remove additional moisture and makes it easier for the system to maintain the temperature setting.
When the filter on the air conditioner is clogged, it exposes everyone to additional dust and debris that can cause allergic reactions. Additionally, that blocked filter traps excess moisture in the ductwork. Accordingly, indoor humidity levels increase and mold begins to flourish. Cleaning or changing the AC filter once per month is a good rule of thumb for optimal operation.
The coils in the air conditioning unit can get dirty as well. This means that it cannot remove humidity and heat as effectively. A clogged filter can make the coils dirty, and this situation causes the blower fan to draw particulates into the system. Regularly cleaning the coils prevents this.
When was the last time you checked the refrigerant level on your air conditioner? Low levels of refrigerant are detrimental to performance, perhaps even leading to a frozen coil or the failure of the compressor.
Sometimes called a TXV, a Thermal Expansion Valve is used to adjust refrigerant levels. This system gives the air conditioner precisely the correct amount of refrigerant depending upon the temperature. Effectively, the TXV enhances the evaporator coil’s capacity to remove humidity and heat in any ambient conditions.
Let Delaware Heating and Air Help
Do you need an expert to inspect and maintain your air conditioning system? Delaware Heating and Air’s professionals can check the condition of every component of your system, ensure that refrigerant levels are optimum, and keep the evaporator coils clean. If you suspect that your air conditioner isn’t working as well as it should, contact Delaware Heating and Air today.
We also help people who don’t have air conditioning or who know that their existing system is outdated and no longer able to perform to their satisfaction. Call Delaware Heating and Air to learn about all of the available options for cooling your home and removing excessive humidity.