Humidity plays a big role in how comfortable you feel, whether indoors or out. While the temperature may not seem all that hot, high dew points make the air sticky and uncomfortable to the skin. Humidity levels can be too high indoors as well, which affects not only your comfort, but your utility costs and even your home. Too much moisture can result in the growth of mold and mildew, which are known health hazards.
How humidity develops inside your home
As Kansas City air conditioning professionals, we know the factors that can contribute to too much humidity in a home. In winter months, humidity isn’t usually a problem, as warm air is capable of holding more humidity, while humidity holds on to more heat than air that is dry. Indoors, humidity levels can increase when someone in the household takes a hot shower, runs the dishwasher, or cooks a hot meal. The age of your air conditioner may be a factor as well, as older models don’t remove humidity as well as newer models do. Even small cracks or air leaks around windows or doors may allow humidity to creep inside.
Reducing the humidity indoors – a few simple tips
We mentioned above that today’s air conditioners are capable of removing some humidity in your home, and this is due simply to the fact an air conditioner lowers the temperature inside. What else can you do to lower the humidity level even further?
- Seal all air leaks in walls or ducts. There may be leaks in the duct work, which should be sealed to keep hot air out, and conditioned air in. Any cracks where air may leak around doors, windows, or even around window air conditioning units should be sealed as well. Caulk and weather stripping are good materials to use to prevent outdoor air from coming in, and cool air from escaping.
- Ventilate all areas where heat or steam may be a problem, such as the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry or utility room. Also make sure the clothes dryer is vented through the floor or wall to the outdoors, so that the warm/hot air is directed outside.
- Check the condensate drain outside to make sure there is no standing water, and that the drain is clean and clear of debris.
- Consider a dehumidifier. Today, there are many options including portable dehumidifiers you can use in a single room, and whole-house dehumidifiers. Combined with your HVAC system, a dehumidifier can make a significant difference in humidity levels.
- Certain plants may help lower humidity levels because they absorb moisture from the air in order to hydrate themselves. These include air plants (tillandsia), peace lilies, and Boston ferns, among others.
At Bob Hamilton, we know humidity can make your home feel downright uncomfortable, while energy costs continue to rise. Whether you need a more energy efficient air conditioner installed in your Kansas City home or additional help getting the humidity under control, give us a call today!