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Can Better Indoor Air Quality Help my AC System?

question-mark-on-blue-backgroundThe short answer to this is, “yes.”

But, please let us elaborate! The type of indoor air quality problem we’re thinking about here is humidity—the excessive moisture that we are well familiar with. In the summer, that humidity makes us feel even less comfortable and the only way to really dissipate indoor humidity is to lower the temperature. So, you’d likely turn on your air conditioner and set the thermostat to the lowest temperature possible.

But, not only is this inefficient, but it also strains your air conditioner and causes it to accumulate wear and tear faster than it should. Additionally, you’re not actually removing the humidity in an effective way. Read on to learn more!

When Is Humidity “Too High?”

Humidity is “too high” when the relative humidity level within your living space is above 50%.

Just a quick side-note: if it’s below 30% this means your air is too dry, which causes a whole host of other problems.

But a relative humidity level greater than 50% is usually when most people notice discomfort. We stay cool by sweating and having that sweat evaporate off our skin—but when humidity is high enough, there is too much ambient moisture to allow our bodies to sweat.

Therefore, we stay hot, and sweat stays on our skin. This leaves us feeling gross and sticky while the air is muggy. This excessive moisture also encourages the growth of mold and bacteria, which can make even the healthiest person ill.

What All This Means for Your Cooling System

The best way to lower the relative humidity level in your home is to lower the temperature, as we stated above. This causes moisture to coalesce into droplets and evaporate. This means your air conditioner basically operates similar to a dehumidifier, by default. But that’s not what your air conditioner was designed for, and therefore you run into problems.

For example, air conditioners remove some moisture from the air, naturally, just by the virtue or running. However, it’s not a significant amount, and you don’t have any control over how much moisture is actually being removed.

The excessive moisture in the air leads homeowners to turn their thermostats down lower than they need to go, meaning their air conditioners run longer than they should have to, just to do the job of conditioning the air. The longer you run your air conditioner at a lower temperature than should be necessary, the higher your cooling bills will rise.

Install a Whole-House Dehumidifier

The answer to your humidity woes is a whole-house dehumidifier.

The thing is, over time, humidity levels that are too high will shorten the lifespan of your air conditioner. A whole-house dehumidifier, though, is specifically designed to eliminate excess moisture from your space, without negatively impacting your air conditioner.

In fact, to refer back to the question we asked in the beginning, the dehumidifier actually helps your air conditioner, since you won’t have to crank down the thermostat as low as it will go.

Whether you’re interested in learning more or need HVAC service in Spokane, WA, ACI Northwest is here to help with your home comfort needs or concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us for helpful advice or to schedule services!

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