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Does Humidity Hurt My Air Conditioner?

air-conditioner-outside-unitWell, not directly. But in a way, yes it does.

Bear with us as we explain…

Humidity is the excess moisture that comes with the high summer temperatures (and quite honestly sticks around after that as well around here!) It makes us uncomfortable, and essentially the only way to get rid of it is to lower the temperature.

So, when summertime comes, we set out thermostats as low as they will go, making our air conditioners work harder and harder as summer plugs along. As a result, your air conditioner accumulates a lot of stress and subsequent damage. Additionally, the humidity is not effectively removed, and you’ll still remain uncomfortable. Read on to learn more!

All About High Humidity

Humidity is considered “too high” when the relative humidity level inside your home is greater than 50%. It’s worth mentioning here that below 30% means your air is too dry, which isn’t as big of a problem in our area, but still good to note.

Relative humidity above 50% is usually when most people notice discomfort. We stay cool by sweating and more specifically, having that sweat evaporate off of our skin. So, if humidity is too high, it means there’s too much ambient moisture in the air to enable your body to sweat. Therefore, you stay heated and sweat stays on your skin, leaving you feeling gross and sticky in the muggy air.

In addition, this high humidity encourages the growth and development of mold and bacteria, which can make you and your family ill.

What This All Means for Your AC System

The best way to lower humidity, as we said above, is to lower the temperature of the room. This causes moisture to coalesce into droplets (much like you might notice outdoors on early mornings). This means that your air conditioning system pretty much serves as a dehumidifier by default, even though it’s not supposed to—and there lies the problem.

Air conditioners remove moisture from the air naturally, but it’s not a significant amount, and you don’t have any control over how much moisture is actually being removed. Excessive moisture in your indoor air causes your air conditioner to work harder than it should have to, in order to do its job of conditioning your air.

Since the air feels warmer when humidity levels are too high, you might find yourself setting the thermostat lower and lower. This impacts your air conditioner, and subsequently, your cooling bills too.

Have a Dehumidifier Installed

By now you may be wondering, “so, what can I do about this problem?” Enter the whole-house dehumidifier. These systems are designed to control the humidity, effectively removing excess moisture from your home without impacting your air conditioner. In fact, a dehumidifier will actually help your AC system, since you won’t have to turn the thermostat down as low, and as a result, the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard.

ACI Northwest is here to help with your home comfort needs or concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us for helpful advice and for reliable services on your air conditioning in Spokane, WA!

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