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Effects of Humidity on HVAC Performance

Air conditioning repair ann arbor

Humidity and Your HVAC

Not sure what role moisture in the air plays in heating and cooling your house effectively? Wondering how wet, sticky weather might affect your HVAC efficiency? Worried humidity might be an issue for your air conditioning? 

Humidity directly affects our comfort. For example, most of us feel more comfortable on a dry summer day than a muggy one, even if the temperature is actually lower on the muggy day. So it makes sense that humidity in your house would play a role in the performance of your HVAC system. In fact, moisture in the air in your space has such a powerful influence on your heating and cooling system, you might think you need furnace or air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor when you really have humidity issues.

But how does humidity work for or against your HVAC exactly? The affect of humidity levels on your HVAC doesn’t need to be a mystery anymore! Once you learn a little about humidity in your space, it can be easy to make adjustments, be more comfortable, and even lower your utility bills.  

How to know if you have a humidity issue or need air conditioning repair. 

It starts with difficulty feeling comfortable in your home. You keep adjusting the thermostat, but the house just doesn’t feel cool. Do you need air conditioning repair for your Ann Arbor home? Or could this be a humidity problem?

Air Conditioning works by cooling and removing moisture from the air. Too much moisture in the air and your AC will struggle to keep up. This leaves your house feeling warm and damp. As you turn the thermostat lower and lower to compensate, your electric bill starts to creep up. At this point, it’s natural to assume you have an issue with your HVAC. But before you call in the repair team, there are a few things you can check:

  • Is there condensation on windows or mirrors?
  • Are you having issues with mold or mildew in the bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms?
  • Do you notice or a wet or musty smell anywhere in your space?
  • Are there wet spots on the ceiling or walls?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be dealing with a water vapor or humidity issue in the house. When your AC can’t get rid of the excess moisture in the air, it won’t be able to effectively cool the house. But even though the AC unit is failing to get your humidity to a comfortable level, this issue may not require air conditioning repair. 

In the winter, humidity issues can also affect the performance of your heating system in the opposite way: when your home is too dry, it won’t heat adequately and can feel very uncomfortable. Here are a few indicators of humidity problems in the cooler season:

  • Are your lips or skin chapped, dry, or cracked?
  • Do you wake up with a dry, scratchy throat or nose?
  • Have you noticed increased static electricity and shocks?

Humidity that is too low in winter will lead to the same problems as high moisture in the summer: an overworked system, uncomfortable space, and increased utility bills.

To take on moisture problems you can start by purchasing a hygrometer or humidity monitor for only a few dollars. With the monitor, you can track the exact humidity levels in your space and start to understand how big the issue is before you start making adjustments. Once you identify the issue, there are many ways to correct it!

Too much of a good thing: how AC size affects humidity. 

If you have a larger building or home to heat and cool, you might be tempted to install the biggest and baddest HVAC system for the greatest efficiency. But an AC that’s extremely efficient at cooling and oversized for your space can actually lead to an issue with humidity. 

Here’s what happens: the AC unit is able to cool your space to the set temperature so efficiently that it runs much less frequently throughout the day. When it’s humid outside, or you’re doing moisture-producing activities inside, the humidity level rises despite the temperature remaining constant. 

It’s essential that your HVAC is designed to service the size of your space to work most effectively, and you should always have an accurate measurement before install a new system. Homes and businesses with moisture issues can often benefit from having their space measured by professionals, like the technicians at CMR Mechanical, and downsizing their HVAC system. After downsizing, the space is much more comfortable and efficiency will actually improve even if the system runs for more hours during the day than an oversized one would. 

Working together: Cooling and the dehumidifier. 

As we already covered, your air conditioning works both by cooling the air and removing moisture from the air. That means that your AC unit is essentially a dehumidifier, but that’s not its primary function and it doesn’t respond to the need to dehumidify if there is no need for cooling. When the humidity in your house is at an average level, the cooling + dehumidifying function of the AC works great! But when your house is too humid, the AC will work until the temperature setting is reached and then stop, even when humidity levels are still at an uncomfortable level. 

When this scenario is happening too frequently in your home you have a few options. 

  1. Grin and bear it: even though the space is uncomfortable, decide that you’ll deal it. The issue here is that moisture problems can either indicate or cause serious problems that shouldn’t be ignored. An unsafe and expensive mold problem, for example, is an effect that would top the list.
  2. How low can you go: to counterbalance the humidity issue, you turn the thermostat to a lower setting. This will help your house feel more comfortable and dry, but it can be expensive, cause excess wear on your HVAC, can lead to the need for air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor, and may just be a bandage for larger concern. 
  3. Call CMR Mechanical: chat with one of our experts about the problems you’re experiencing and get an in-home assessment and potentially a recommendation for a dehumidifier for your space. Whatever the recommendation, you can be sure you’re doing the most to correct your humidity issue. 

Adding a dehumidifier to the mix in your space will help with any moisture issues you are experiencing and help your AC work more efficiently. If you have a damp basement or do any kind of work or activities that create a lot of water vapor, a dehumidifier for a single room or area could be enough to solve your moisture problem. But you might not even need a dehumidifier to help your AC work more effectively. 

Having an experienced CMR Mechanical contractor out to your space will help you identify the problem and start to address it. Ventilation issues may be detected and easy fixes recommended or implemented. One thing you can know for sure, reaching out to the experts at CMR Mechanical today can help you avoid an unnecessary HVAC or air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor down the line. 

Working together: Heating and the humidifier.

You already know that humidity levels directly affect the comfort level of your space, whether you’re trying to cool it or heat it. In colder weather humidity levels outside drop dramatically, and that takes its toll on the moisture level inside. When the humidity dips far below the comfort zone, your space can feel significantly colder than the temperature setting and low moisture can also create discomfort through dry skin, chapped lips, and sore throats. 

Unlike your AC which has the double function of cooling and removing moisture from the air, your heating system does not add moisture to the air. In our climate, where heating is an essential component, you also really need a humidifier to complement your HVAC system. 

CMR Mechanical offers the convenient solution of Bryant Whole-Home Humidification Systems which function as a part of your new or existing HVAC system. Once you install a properly functioning humidifier in your space, you’ll notice greater comfort levels very quickly. Having greater control over the moisture level in your space can also be crucial for the function of electronics, preserving the condition of wood furniture, woodwork, artwork, and books. And, of course, you can even see the benefit in your utility bill when you are able to lower your heat setting to a more reasonable level!

Why should you choose CMR Mechanical? 

Trusting your home or business and the comfort of your space to technicians is a big deal. At CMR Mechanical, we have a few policies you should know about that can help you feel confident in your choice to call and invite us into your home! 

  1. Confidence Guaranteed: Our 100% satisfaction guaranteed on services and installed products isn’t just a slogan, it’s written into our service agreement and will be honored. 
  2. Convenience: Our customer service policy is driven by your convenience. From timelines to schedules to budget, we want the process to be convenient and satisfactory to you. 
  3. Training: Our technicians are factory educated on the technology, products, and services they use. Training and education is also a never-ending process at CMR Mechanical, so we’re always improving!
  4. Access: Our 24-hour emergency service line (734-424-1560) is there for you if you ever run into an issue that needs immediate attention.

What are the ideal humidity levels in winter and summer?

Not sure if you have a humidity issue or you need air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor

That’s okay because there are some pretty simple guidelines and tools you can use to figure it out in no time!

To accurately measure your humidity, you’ll need a hygrometer, a thermometer that also provides a humidity reading, or a smart thermostat that provides a humidity reading. Some of these gadgets will indicate if your humidity is at a good or comfortable level automatically for you, but it’s still good to know about where you should be. 

In general, you want to be below 60% humidity in the summer time to keep your space comfortable and avoid overuse of your AC unit. In winter, the average outdoor temperature really affects the humidity you want for your space, but you’ll usually want to be in the range of about 30-40% throughout most of the chilly season. Check out more specific guidelines below: 

  • Outdoor temperature above 50˚ F  humidity below 60-50%
  • Outdoor temperature between 20 and 50˚ F  humidity below 40%
  • Outdoor temperature between 10 and 20˚ F  humidity below 35%
  • Outdoor temperature between 0 and 10˚ F  humidity below 30%
  • Outdoor temperature between -10 and 0˚ F  humidity below 25%

If your indoor humidity level varies significantly from these guidelines, your HVAC system performance will definitely be impacted and you’ll notice it on your utility bill. 

Start dealing with your humidity problem today!

Do you know the source of your humidity problem? You can start tackling this issue of humidity in your space right now, no matter what the problem is. A few strategies include:

  1. Ventilate the bathroom whenever you shower or use hot water. 
  2. Ventilate the kitchen whenever you’re cooking something potentially steamy. 
  3. Fix leaky pipes and insulate pipes that cause condensation. 
  4. Adjust the humidity setting on your HVAC humidifier if you have one. 
  5. Run the AC for a short period and keep the space closed up to maintain the temperature and humidity. 

If you try these fixes and still aren’t feeling comfortable in your home or if you’re not sure what the source of the moisture is, call CMR mechanical for an inspection of your HVAC system right away! Reaching out to the experts can lead you to a better solution like a new humidifier, dehumidifier, or even air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor that will likely save you money long-term. 

Has humidity already affected your HVAC?

Not only does the humidity level affect how your space feels and HVAC efficiency, it can also directly affect the mechanical elements of the system. Excessive wear or a buildup of debris from moisture issues are the two major concerns for potential damage to your HVAC system from a significant or chronic humidity problem. 

What can you do to detect and correct these issues if it’s happening to you? CMR Mechanical has several options that will get your system back in shape:

  • Tune-up: instead of waiting until you need air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor, improve efficiency and extend the life of your system will a regular tune-up. 
  • Duct Cleaning: your air filter does a lot to keep debris and allergens from getting into the air in your space. But if your ducts are dirty, system efficiency can be dramatically impacted. 
  • Equipment Cleaning: your outdoor equipment can get a little gunky, even if the humidity inside is perfect. Getting a professional clean will keep your system running more like new for years to come. 
  • Care Program: a bi-annual checkup of your HVAC system that includes discounts on equipment and services, lower energy bills, and increased lifespan for your equipment. 

Where can you go for more information on humidity and your HVAC performance?

Want to learn more about humidity and your HVAC performance? There is a wealth of information available out there from some great sources. Here is a brief list of links and topics you might find interesting:

If you still have questions about the humidity in your space or how you can best control it given your unique circumstances, give the experts at CMR Mechanical a call. With all our years of experience in HVAC service and air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor, we’ve seen it all and can come up with the ultimate solution for you. 

Control the humidity in your space with CMR Mechanical.

Now that you know how moisture affects your HVAC system, you are better prepared to get back in control of the humidity in your house. Keeping the humidity in your space at a safe level has many benefits including greater comfort indoors, more efficient HVAC performance, lower utility bills, less mold growth, and less need for heating and air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor!

Are you ready to control the humidity level in your home once and for all? You can start by simply reaching out to one of the experts at CMR Mechanical today. Tell us about the concerns you have for your space, set up an in-home assessment of your system, and be prepared for a one-of-kind solution tailored to you. 

Remember that when humidity runs amuck in your space it can affect more than just your comfort level! It could do serious damage to your HVAC system and lead to the need for costly air conditioning repair in Ann Arbor or even promote extreme mold growth that can be difficult to get rid of. Call us today before the end of the summer season when our contractors get busier with calls for repairs and inspections of heating systems. 

Your solution to mad moisture is just a call away! Reach us at (734) 424-1560.

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