Here in the Orange, Texas, area, we experience high humidity levels during much of the spring and summer months. While this might feel unpleasant every time you step outside, humidity can also impact the efficiency and operation of your home’s cooling system. Manage indoor humidity and combat mold growth and other common moisture problems with these tips.
How Does it Affect the HVAC?
When warm air comes into contact with a cold surface, the result is moisture that condenses into droplets of water. That heavy, muggy feeling that occurs during much of the summer in Texas can happen within your house. Humidity is pretty much always present in our homes because we take showers, wash and dry the dishes, and cook food. But when the humidity levels rise outside, due to more water in the summertime air, that air comes in and makes it harder to keep the moisture under control. The HVAC system has to work harder to remove the humidity from the air before it pushes it back through the vents, leading to higher utility bills during the humid months.
Humidity can also lead to mold and mildew growth, wood rot of the structure of your home, and peeling paint due to moisture exposure. Mold can severely compromise indoor air quality, leading to a variety of health problems. It can cause serious allergic reactions in those who suffer from mold allergies and exacerbate asthma and other breathing conditions.
Use Bathroom and Kitchen Fans
Most people are pretty good about running exhaust fans in bathrooms while taking showers, but if it’s hard for you to remember to turn it on, now is the time to get into the habit. A bathroom fan timer is helpful since it allows you to keep the fan on for up to an hour, even after you’ve left for the day, eliminating more moisture. These fans help pull moist air out of your home so that it doesn’t go through the HVAC system.
When you boil water or prepare other food in the kitchen, make sure to use the exhaust fan that’s built into your microwave (if it sits over your range). You can also try to keep pots and pans covered when you’re cooking to minimize how much moisture escapes into the air.
Upgrade Doors and Windows
If you have outdated doors and windows in your home, you may notice an increase in the moisture levels. Single-paned windows don’t do much to insulate from the air outside, and they commonly have water droplets that accumulate as the weather changes. Replacing these with double-paned or even triple-paned windows will help keep that humid outdoor air outside. Storm doors also help in this regard, while also improving energy efficiency throughout the year.
Get Rid of the Humidifier
If you run a humidifier in your room during the fall and winter, you’ll need to discontinue that practice during the summer. Adding more moisture to the air is helpful when it’s cold and dry. But warm summer air should have enough moisture that you don’t experience the symptoms of dry air, such as sore throats, nosebleeds, and itchy skin. Ditch the humidifier during the seasons when moisture levels are high.
Add a Dehumidifier
If you’re following these steps and still have problems with too much interior moisture, adding a dehumidifier will make a big difference. Disaster cleanup teams use these appliances to remove a good portion of the humidity from the air, but an in-home model won’t be quite as big or bulky. Many people use dehumidifiers in their laundry rooms, basements, bathrooms, or other areas that tend to have higher humidity levels. But, keep in mind that you do need to keep a moisture level of 30-50 percent to prevent static shocks and other discomfort that comes with air that’s become too dry.
If you’re worried about how much moisture is in the air within your home, give us a call at Reed Service Company at 409-232-0110 to learn about other options and how to manage it efficiently with your home’s cooling system.
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