Humidity control plays a crucial role in the comfort level of our indoor environments. When your HVAC system doesn’t manage humidity well, your Sacramento, CA, home can feel stuffy or too dry. At Atticman Heating and Air Conditioning, Insulation, we understand how humidity affects HVAC systems. This post will dig deeper into why keeping indoor humidity levels just right for a comfortable indoor environment is essential. It will also explain how this can impact your HVAC system.

HVAC Systems

Your home’s HVAC system has three primary functions: providing heat in the winter, cold air in the summer, and ensuring proper ventilation. The first two functions seem straightforward and need little explanation for most people, but what about ventilation? The ventilation process replaces fresh outdoor air with stale, moist, and sometimes contaminated air.

The exchange process replaces stagnant indoor air with fresh outdoor air and helps maintain acceptable indoor air quality. All three primary functions regulate indoor humidity, contributing to your indoor comfort as much as temperature control.

What Is Humidity?

Humidity control isn’t just about comfort. It’s about your health, too. When the air in your home contains too much or too little water vapor, it can lead to discomfort and even health issues.

Overly humid air feels hotter and makes your home uncomfortable. Think about days when you’re outside, and the humidity levels climb. How do you feel? Your skin probably feels sticky, and your hair and clothes cling to your body. High humidity in your home can feel the same way, even if the air conditioner’s on.

High humidity does more than make your body uncomfortable. It’s also the culprit that causes condensation on surfaces, including your windows and heating and cooling equipment. When excessive humidity levels continue without intervention, mold can grow, and the moisture can damage your home.

What about low humidity? You might think low humidity levels offer respite and provide a more comfortable living environment. However, when humidity levels dip too low, the air becomes dry. You might notice your clothes and hair become staticky, and your skin feels drier. Dry air also irritates the skin, can cause dry eyes, and makes people with respiratory issues feel sicker, exacerbating their symptoms.

Humidity levels affect your comfort and health, but how does it impact your HVAC system?

Where Should Your Humidity Levels Be?

Acceptable humidity levels typically range between 30% to 50% relative humidity (RH) indoors. This range guarantees a comfortable and healthy atmosphere, preventing mold growth, respiratory discomfort, and structural deterioration. Humidity below 30% can lead to dry skin, irritated mucous membranes, and static electricity buildup.

Conversely, humidity levels exceeding 50% can promote mold and mildew growth, causing musty odors, allergic reactions, and damage to wooden furniture and structures. Maintaining humidity within the acceptable range not only improves comfort but also protects your health and preserves the integrity of your home. Frequent monitoring and appropriate humidity control measures are necessary for achieving good indoor air quality.

How Humidity Affects HVAC Performance

High and low humidity levels make it difficult for your HVAC system to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. Your furnace and air conditioner must work harder to do its job. Anytime your home’s HVAC system must do more work, its energy consumption increases, and wear and tear becomes more evident. All of this impacts the following:

  • Efficiency
  • Lifespan
  • Performance
  • Higher energy bills

High humidity also has a reputation for corrosion caused by excess condensation. When an HVAC system becomes corroded, it’s more likely to experience mechanical issues. The damage to the system can cost you more money in terms of repair costs and early replacement.

Often, people give an unbalanced amount of attention to high humidity levels and their effects on HVAC performance. However, low humidity causes problems, too. Firstly, since low humidity levels make it feel colder in your home, your heating system works overtime to meet your temperature demands. Like with high humidity, this causes high energy consumption and increased system wear and tear. Since static electricity is a byproduct of low humidity, HVAC systems in homes with low moisture amounts might have problems with their electrical components experiencing damage.

How to Protect Your HVAC System

Fortunately, modern HVAC systems are equipped with advanced features designed to handle humidity challenges more effectively than older systems. These systems can intelligently adjust their output to match your home’s humidity needs, ensuring a comfortable and energy-efficient indoor environment. If you’re considering an upgrade, explore options like Carrier Infinity Series heat pumps with Greenspeed Intelligence for superior humidity control and overall system performance.

Carrier also offers AC units that use two-stage compression technology to handle high humidity better. Systems with low-stage technology run for longer periods. You might think longer running times will lead to increased energy consumption. However, frequent on-and-off cycling uses more energy because a start-up requires a lot of energy. Frequent cycling also causes more wear and tear and decreased durability.

How to Maintain Ideal Indoor Humidity

Whether you upgrade to a new system or stick with your current HVAC system, you want to do what you can to maintain optimal indoor humidity. Doing so will keep any system you install in better shape and yield better performance.

Check out these practical tips we recommend for humidity control:

Use a Dehumidifier

A humid climate like Sacramento can make keeping your indoor temperature comfortable more challenging. Adding a dehumidifier to your HVAC system can reduce your air conditioner’s load and remove excess moisture from the air in your home. You’ll feel more comfortable, and your HVAC system won’t experience as much wear and tear.

Check out System Settings

HVAC systems manufactured within the last several years have built-in humidity control settings. Using the “auto” setting instead of the “on” setting offers optimal humidity control for most homes.

Seal Your Home

Does your home have gaps in its structure? Are there cracks or gaps between windows and doors? Sealing your home not only keeps energy from escaping but also keeps humid outdoor air from entering.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Have your system cleaned twice yearly to ensure it runs at peak efficiency during the summer and winter. Professional tune-ups check for leaks, condensation buildup, corrosion, and other issues caused by humidity issues.

Humidity Control in Sacramento

At Atticman Heating and Air Conditioning, Insulation, we’re not just about selling products. We’re about providing comprehensive HVAC solutions. Our unbeatable services, including repair, replacement, and installation, are designed to keep your home comfortable all year round. With our customer specials, Cool Club Membership, and financing on approved credit, we make it affordable to maintain indoor comfort.

We prioritize offering our customers sustainable solutions and always recommend the most energy-efficient products. Improving indoor air quality and lowering carbon footprint matter to us as much as they matter to you. We’re a customer-first HVAC company, a Trane Comfort Specialist, a Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite, and a 5-star YELP rating.

Do you have humidity problems at your home and need solutions? Call our team at Atticman Heating and Air Conditioning, Insulation to learn more about humidity control and our other heating and cooling services.

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