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Is Humidity Hurting My Air Conditioner?


Humidity does not directly hurt your air conditioner, but it’s not great for it either. It’s even worse for the health of your indoor air!

Humidity is excess moisture that comes alongside our warmer temperatures in the summer, making it feel hotter than it actually is outside. The only way to dissipate humidity is by lowering the temperature, so homeowners often set their thermostats as low as they’ll go.

Unfortunately, all this is doing is causing your air conditioner to run longer than it should have to in order to keep your household cool, and it’s really not doing an effective job of eliminating humidity in the meantime. Read on to learn more!

Understanding High Humidity

Humidity is considered excessive when the relative humidity level in your home is above 50%.

Conversely, your home’s indoor air is too dry if this percentage is below 30, which is a common wintertime problem in our area.

A relative humidity level outside of this range is going to cause problems. When humidity is too high, it doesn’t allow us to cool off, since we do so by sweating and high humidity makes this significantly harder.

Essentially, when dealing with high humidity, what we have is too much ambient moisture in the air to enable our bodies to cool off. We feel gross and sweaty, plus high humidity fosters mold and bacteria growth–this can make even the healthiest person ill.

What All This Really Means for Your AC

As we mentioned above, the best way to lower humidity is by lowering the temperature. This causes moisture to coalesce into droplets and from there the moisture evaporates. Air conditioners have condensate pans and drains for this very reason. However, that doesn’t mean you should rely on your air conditioner for dehumidification.

Air conditioners are not designed to control humidity! Sure, they remove some moisture from the air by nature, but it is not a considerable amount, plus you don’t have control over how much or how little moisture is actually removed.

So in a sense, excess moisture causes your AC system to “work harder” than it should have to. Since your indoor air feels warmer when humidity levels are too high, you’ll likely find yourself setting the thermostat lower and lower, which is going to raise your utility bills.

The Answer: A Whole-House Dehumidifier

A whole-house dehumidifier is the answer to all of this! Over time, high humidity is going to lower the lifespan of your air conditioner, since the longer your AC runs to compensate for the lower temperature, the more wear and tear it will accumulate.

As we mentioned above, air conditioners have components to help eliminate moisture, but they simply cannot hold up to the excess humidity that a dehumidifier can. Plus, a dehumidifier lets you control the level of humidity in your home during the summer.

Interested in learning more? For professional Park Ridge, IL HVAC services and indoor air quality services, look no further than Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning. Contact us today!

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