Summer means warm days, picnic baskets, and time spent at the beach. Summer weather, however, can be quite humid. Typically, stepping into an air-conditioned house brings relief from that humidity. If you are running your air conditioning and the humidity is still affecting you indoors, you have a problem. Understanding what causes humidity in your home may help you find a solution.
Why your home may be humid
In most cases, humidity in your home is caused by an older AC unit that is not functioning well and may only have one speed. It is just too old and worn down to handle days with high humidity. Plus, if your residential HVAC system's air conditioning unit is too small for the square footage of your home, it cannot remove the hot, humid air fast enough. Conversely, a unit that is too big will just blast cold air quickly and immediately shut off, which is equally inefficient.
Finally, you may be using the wrong thermostat setting. You should not run the system with the fan in the ON setting. In fact, you may be making the humidity situation in your home worse. You are simply blowing the humid air around in your space instead of letting the AC unit remove the hot, humid air.
Signs of Humidity
In addition to still feeling the mugginess indoors, there are other signs that the humidity in your home is too high, including the following:
- Foggy windows. While a window can fog up due to a broken seal between the insulated panes of glass, humidity can cause multiple windows to fog up in your home. On less humid days the effect will subside, but you need a more permanent solution to the problem.
- Musty smell. If you have ever walked into a home or basement that smelled musty, you were smelling the result of excess humidity in that space. The mildew is a direct result of too much moisture.
- Condensation. Condensation will appear on the side of a glass containing a cold drink when there is a difference in temperature between the contents of the glass and the surrounding air. Your home can also experience this problem. On hot, humid days you may see condensation on your toilet, refrigerator, or freezer.
- Damp air. Another sign of humidity is that the air in your home is damp. Damp air not only makes your home physically uncomfortable but also prevents towels that are hung up in the kitchen or bathroom from drying. Likewise, the damp air will have an adverse effect on your upholstered furniture.
All the excess moisture above can lead to cracking paint, peeling wallpaper, and even mold growth over time.
There are steps that you can take to help reduce the humidity in your home, including the following:
- Clean. Keep the outside of your AC unit clean and free from debris. Everything from dust and grass clippings to leaves and cobwebs can clog the air intake, preventing the unit from being able to release the humid air from inside your home.
- Use a dehumidifier. It is recommended that you keep the humidity inside your home between 30 to 50 percent. Running a dehumidifier in a musty basement can help lower the humidity in the area and reduce mildew and musty smells.
- Schedule preventative maintenance. Calling your HVAC technician for annual, preventative maintenance can head off small problems before they become big issues. They will be able to inspect all the working parts each year and stay on top of the system for you.
Like your home's other mechanical systems, your HVAC just needs a little of your time and attention to keep it running smoothly.
The above steps should solve most humidity problems but not all. If you are still struggling with humid air in your home, call your local residential HVAC service company for help.