Yes , the humidity does affect your air conditioner!
It isn’t easy to picture life in Queensland without an air conditioner to relieve the heat.
Australians have been enjoying the cool air for about 80 years, ever since the Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association of Australia introduced air conditioning to our country.
When Queensland summer temperatures hover between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius and insane humidity levels, you are quick to realise that your aircon is not coping.
Your air conditioner isn’t working as it should and sometimes it’s because of the humidity.
But do you actually know what humidity does to your air conditioner?
Knowing how humidity affects your air conditioner and how to regulate the humidity in your home will help you deal with the heat during the hot summer days on the Sunshine Coast!
What is humidity?
High indoor humidity can negatively impact the efficiency and longevity of your air conditioner and cause health problems for you and your family.
But what is humidity anyway?
There are two main measures of humidity:
- Absolute humidity measures how much water vapour is present in the air, regardless of temperature. The mass of water vapour is divided by the mass of dry air to calculate the absolute humidity of a particular air volume.
- Relative humidity measures the actual or real amount of water vapour in the air compared to the highest possible amount of water vapour in the air at that temperature. Warm air has a higher moisture capacity than cool air.
High humidity causes the air to feel hotter than what it is as well as being muggy, stuffy, oppressive, and steamy. It is the hardest thing to deal with in the warmer months in Queensland,
How high humidity affects us
Our bodies sweat to regulate our temperature. When we sweat, the body releases water and salt, and when this water evaporates, it takes some of the body heat with it.
That is why a breeze cools you down. It is not the air temperature but the evaporation process that happens on your skin.
When relative humidity is high, sweat evaporates slowly because the air is already saturated with moisture and cannot absorb any more. So the sweat does not evaporate as quickly and just sits on your skin with nowhere to go.
That’s why you feel so hot on humid days, even if the temperature is under 30 degrees.
Your body has a more challenging time regulating its temperature, making it more susceptible to heatstroke. So take extra precautions when you go outside in the heat and humidity.
Many of us stay indoors on sweltering days, but sometimes there’s no escaping the humidity, even in your air-conditioned home.
What is the appropriate humidity level for an indoor environment?
Indoor humidity levels should be between 30 and 60 per cent. You can determine if the humidity in your home is too high by:
- Testing the humidity in your home with a hygrometer, available at most home improvement stores.
- Check your windows for condensation and your walls and ceilings for moisture or mould.
Indoor humidity can become too high when outdoor humidity is high and outdoor air enters the home, such as through open windows or poor seals on windows and doors.
Indoor humidity can also be affected by activities that increase humidity, such as cooking, showering, or hanging laundry to dry.
Does the air conditioner control the humidity?
The thermostat controls your air conditioner, which measures temperature, not humidity. The thermostat tells the air conditioner to switch on when the temperature climbs above a specific point.
While the air conditioner is working, some moisture is removed from the air.
However, air conditioners are not explicitly designed to control humidity, so they can’t always handle the amount of water vapour in the air.
If you lower the temperature on the thermostat, your air conditioner won’t do a better job of removing moisture from the air.
What happens to my air conditioner if it’s too humid in the home?
If your home is too humid, your air conditioner will have to work overtime to keep you comfortable.
You’ll probably be tempted to turn the thermostat down further than you usually would to get relief from the oppressive humidity.
But an overworked air conditioner operates less efficiently and requires more frequent maintenance.
As a result, the unit’s life shortens, and energy bills increase.
How does humidity affect mould growth?
Humidity levels above 50 per cent are conducive to the growth of mould and mildew.
The system can spread mould spores throughout the home, whether mould is growing on the walls, on the bathroom ceiling or inside the air conditioner.
Mould can cause or irritate health problems and settle on furniture, clothing and food.
As a result, it’s in your best interest to address the issue of excessive humidity in your home.
Control the humidity in your home
Maintenance inspections regularly
Regular cleaning and servicing your air conditioner is important!!
This is most likely the finest thing you can do for your air conditioner and heater.
Regular maintenance of your system will allow your technician to spot problems before they reach catastrophic proportions.
Your air conditioning technician will also monitor the condition of your equipment and keep the system clean.
A dehumidifier is a logical solution if you need to dehumidify your room. There are stand-alone units as well as whole-house dehumidifiers that are built into your existing air conditioning system.
Dehumidifiers use condensation to remove moisture from the air.
- Air gets inside the system and is passed over cooling coils.
- The temperature of the airdrops, and so does the air’s ability to absorb water vapour.
- The water vapour condenses into liquid and collects in the dehumidifier’s reservoir.
- The system then reheats the air and returns it to the room.
New Air Conditioner Installation
If you’re having many problems with your air conditioner and it’s time to replace it, this could be an opportunity to buy a new air conditioner with a higher SEER rating than your present ac unit. Contact air conditioning professionals about installing a whole-house dehumidification system simultaneously with a new air conditioner.
Some signs that indicate the end of an air conditioner’s life cycle:
- Hot or cold spots in a room
- Air conditioner running constantly
- No changes in ambient temperature
- Strange, unusual sounds coming from the air conditioner
Contact a professional Sunshine Coast air conditioning company today to schedule an inspection of your air conditioner or discuss new models that do have humidity settings and features.