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Can Humidity Hurt Your Air Conditioner?

hvac vent on wallLong story short? Yes.

Residents of Edmond are no strangers to the high humidity levels that come along with summer heat. And your air conditioner can deal with that humidity a bit, but it’s not designed to lower the humidity—only the temperatures. Furthermore, excess humidity can actually cause damage to your cooling system as it tried to deal with the humidity, and ultimately you’ll be left with a muggy and uncomfortable home.

The good news is that there is a very effective way to rid your home of this uncomfortable and damaging humidity, and prevent AC system problems—the installation of a whole-house dehumidifier.

When Is Humidity Too High?

Generally speaking, high humidity refers to a relative humidity level that stands above 50%. This is the point at which most people notice their discomfort. We human beings stay cool by sweating, and more specifically having that sweat evaporate off of our skin in the breeze.

So when the humidity is too high, there’s too much ambient moisture in the air to allow us to sweat, and as a result, our bodies stay heated and the sweat stays on our skin, leading to that gross sticky feeling when the air is too muggy. High humidity also encourages the growth of mold and bacteria, which can make even the healthiest person sick.

But Wait, What Does That Have to Do with Your AC?

The best way to lower humidity is by lowering the temperature of your home. This causes ambient moisture to coalesce into droplets. This is the same principle that causes morning dew that you see outdoors. This means that ac systems can serve as dehumidifiers by default. However, there are some problems with that.

To start with, air conditioners can’t control the humidity. They do remove some moisture from the air naturally through their operation, but it is not a significant amount and you really have no control over how much moisture is removed. High humidity causes your air conditioner to work harder to do its job of cooling the air. Since the air feels hotter when humidity levels are high, you may find yourself setting the thermostat lower and lower, which means it has to do more—raising your monthly bills and the possibility of a premature breakdown.

Over time, high humidity levels each summer can shorten the lifespan of your air conditioner considerably. Finally, because your air conditioner isn’t set up to handle excess moisture, it can be overwhelmed by it. Most air conditioners have a drain pan to collect condensation, however, excess humidity can overflow the pan and create subsequent problems.

The solution, as we mentioned above, is the installation of a whole-house dehumidifier. This enables you to deal with excess mugginess properly. Dehumidifier systems are set up to allow precise control over the relative humidity levels, allowing you to set it to the level you like. These indoor air quality systems are very effective at disposing of excess humidity, and, in turn, can ease the strain on your air conditioner so you can keep your home comfortable without wasting energy or money.

It’s never too late to improve your home comfort, so if you’ve been considering a whole-house dehumidifier, now is the time!

At Comfort Incorporated, we provide exceptional Edmond HVAC services and indoor air quality services. We keep your family safe, healthy and comfortable–call today, service today!

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