What Should the Humidity Be in My Home?

August 2, 2013

Humidity levels can make a warm summer miserable. You expect some relief from your cooling system, but too much indoor humidity can negatively affect your comfort levels. Maintaining optimum moisture levels in the house can be tricky, but a bit of understanding may help you in adjusting your AC settings.

The Role of Your AC in Moderating Indoor Humidity

The ideal relative humidity (RH) in your home is between 30 and 50 percent. You can use a hygrometer to monitor the RH, or you can install a thermostat that measures the moisture in your home environment. Use of your AC can help in lowering the RH.

Many homeowners wonder, “How do air conditioners dehumidify?” Your refrigerant is the key to good dehumidification. As it expands and becomes cold, it causes moisture to condense. The condensate collects on the evaporator coils, pooling and draining out of your home. Some issues that can impede this dehumidification process can include:

  • Dirty or frozen coils
  • Damaged coils
  • Low refrigerant charge

Another significant issue that can affect your AC’s dehumidification is short cycles. Your system needs to run for extended periods to provide proper condensation. If your air conditioner shuts off before at least 15 minutes of operating time, it may result in minimal RH moderation, leaving your home sticky and uncomfortable. You may be able to improve the running time by setting your thermostat lower. However, improper system sizing could also be an issue.

Getting Help with Excessive Humidity

Rather than guessing at the problem, it may be helpful to enlist the assistance of a certified HVAC technician to pinpoint issues with your RH levels. Preventive maintenance service is one of the most cost-effective ways to be sure that your equipment is operating at its optimum levels. Coil cleaning and refrigerant checks directly address two major issues affecting your AC’s ability to dehumidify.

You can also use your tune-up appointment to inquire about additional indoor air quality solutions. A dehumidifier is a popular choice for residents of Hanahan, SC. There are periods during the year when humidity levels are high while temperature levels are too low to warrant use of the air conditioner. A dehumidifier can deal with the moisture without making your home too cold.

Some modern AC systems also include variable speed technology that includes ultra-low speeds for dehumidification. The refrigerant is able to produce the condensation effect needed to moderate humidity levels, and low fan speeds keep air circulating without causing the entire home to become uncomfortably cold. Specialized controls are used to ensure that dehumidification cycles occur as needed.

Get Expert Assistance

At Berkeley Heating & Air Conditioning, we are able to schedule preventive care service to ensure that your cooling system is optimized before summer heat sets in. As a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer, we can also provide high-tech indoor air quality solutions to help you in keeping your indoor airstream clean and conditions comfortable. Give our Hanahan, SC, team a call to schedule your appointment or learn more.

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