High humidity levels are as much or a problem during our Louisiana summers as high temperatures. Muggy air can feel like a wall when you step out of your home, and cause a lot of problems if it takes place inside your home. A good air conditioner can address high humidity levels, but only crudely at best, and in the process can take on a lot more stress and strain than it should. Whole-house dehumidifiers, which area specifically build to handle muggy air, are usually a much better option than simply leaning on your AC.
Why Muggy Air Is a Problem
Human beings sweat to cool off. More specifically, the evaporation of sweat off of our skin lowers the temperature in our bodies. But when the air is muggy – that it, when the relative humidity levels are higher than about 50% or so – then there’s too much ambient moisture to let our sweat evaporate. It stays on our skin instead, leading to that gross feeling whenever the air gets hot and humid. It also keeps out body temperature high, meaning that we feel warmer than it actually is.
On top of that, high humidity levels also lead to mold and bacteria growth in your home, especially in hard-to-reach places like behind the walls, where they can flourish without being noticed.
Air Conditioners: An Incomplete Solution
The best way to remove excess humidity from the air is to lower the temperature: the moisture turns to liquid and leaves the air, which is the reason you get dew on the ground in the morning, when the air is coolest. Air conditioners thus act as dehumidifiers by default, and indeed most systems come with a drip pan and a drain line to collect the water removed from the air it cools.
The problem with that is that there’s no way to control how much humidity, since the process arises as a side effect rather than the system’s primary function. It also causes the air conditioner to use more energy than it should, raising the monthly costs of running it and increasing the chances of a breakdown. In the worst cases, excess humidity can overwhelm the drip pan, forcing the system to shut down before the liquid shorts out a vital component.
Dehumidifiers to the Rescue
Whole-house dehumidifiers often use the same principles as air conditioning to remove moisture from the air. But they don’t need nearly as much energy to do so, since they don’t need to vent heat the way air conditioners do. Since they’re built specifically for dehumidifying, you can tailor their settings for the moisture levels you’re comfortable with, and their components are built to handle a lot more moisture than the basic drip pan of your average air conditioner. Not only does that make them better at handling high humidity levels, but they can ease the strain off of your air conditioner: lowering your bills and helping it last longer.
For dehumidifier installation and service in Covington, LA, call Professional Heating & Air!