Reasons Your Home Feels Humid When Your AC Is Running
Seattle is one of the most humid cities in the country, and this can make it extremely difficult to properly manage your home’s humidity level. High indoor humidity can create numerous problems. For starters, it will make your home feel hotter and more uncomfortable. It also forces your air conditioner to work much harder, which can lead to increased wear and tear, more frequent need for repairs, and higher energy costs. High humidity can also potentially lead to water damage and allow mold to grow inside the home. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer with high indoor humidity as there are a number of steps you can take to ensure it is a thing of the past. With this in mind, here are some of the reasons why your home may feel humid when your AC is on and how you can deal with them.
You’re Not Using Your Air Conditioner Enough
Steadily increasing energy costs mean that most homeowners are looking for any way that they can reduce their utility bills. This leads many people to turn off their AC at night and open their windows instead. While this is definitely a good option in drier climates with cooler evening temperatures, it is never a good idea in extremely humid places like Seattle.
The reason is that opening your windows allows all of that humid air from outside to get into your home. Once inside, the moisture will seep into your carpets, walls, and furnishings. When this happens, your air conditioner can struggle to draw all of that moisture out of the home. This results in the AC needing to work much harder and run for longer once you turn it back on.
In fact, studies have shown that opening your windows at night will typically negate most of the energy you saved from having your AC turned off at night since the system will need to run for much longer during the day due to the high indoor humidity. For this reason, you are always better to leave your AC on and your windows closed anytime the humidity level outside is high.
You’re Not Using Your Kitchen and Bathroom Exhaust Fans
Cooking and bathing are both major sources of indoor humidity. Showering or taking a hot bath is especially bad due to all of the steam created, which is why almost all bathrooms are equipped with exhaust fans. The simplest way to overcome these issues is to make sure to use your exhaust fans every time you bathe or cook. If not, the humidity level can quickly rise to the point where your air conditioner won’t be able to keep up.
Your HVAC System Is Poorly Maintained or Not Working Properly
Your air conditioner not only works to cool the house but also removes excess moisture from the air at the same time. That being said, there are several potential issues that can cause the system to not work properly. When this happens, the humidity level inside the home can quickly become unbearable.
It could be something as simple as a clogged air filter that prevents air from properly circulating throughout the AC system. This is why you should make sure to regularly check your air filter and replace it at least once every one to three months.
Dirty evaporator or condenser coils can also interfere with the air conditioner’s ability to properly absorb heat and moisture from the air. This can easily be overcome by scheduling an annual AC maintenance appointment, as this includes a full cleaning of all of your system’s components. Similar issues can also occur if your system has a refrigerant leak or is low on refrigerant, and this is also something that is checked during AC maintenance.
High humidity can also result if your AC’s condensate drain system is clogged. When this happens, the moisture won’t be able to drain away properly and will end up pooling inside the drain pan and drain lines. As this moisture evaporates, it will quickly raise the humidity level inside the home.
The easiest way to avoid all of these issues is through routine AC maintenance. During the maintenance appointment, a technician will inspect your entire system to make sure everything is working properly, and there are no issues that need repairing. They will also fully clean the entire system and perform a tune-up to ensure it is functioning at peak efficiency.
If your air conditioner is over 10 to 15 years old, you may want to consider having it replaced. As air conditioners age, they tend to suffer from more issues and stop working as well as they used to. This can lead to increased energy costs as well as hotter indoor temperatures and higher humidity.
Your Attic Is Not Adequately Insulated
Insufficient attic insulation is one of the biggest culprits behind high indoor humidity. If the attic isn’t properly sealed and well insulated, it allows much of the hot, humid outdoor air to penetrate into the building. This can quickly raise the temperature and humidity level inside the home to where the air conditioner can no longer keep up.
You Need a Whole-Home Dehumidifier
As long as your AC is working properly and you keep your house sealed up tight on humid days, you really shouldn’t have any issues controlling your home’s humidity. If you do, it is usually a sign that your house lacks sufficient ventilation. Without adequate ventilation, the humid air won’t be able to escape from your home, and this can quickly overwhelm your air conditioner. In this situation, the only truly effective option is to upgrade your HVAC system with the addition of a whole-home dehumidifier. These units work in tandem with your existing system to help capture even more moisture from the air and should be able to quickly overcome any issues with high indoor humidity. The best part about them is that they can actually reduce your energy cost by lessening the strain on your air conditioner so that it doesn’t need to run as frequently or for as long of periods.
Ideally, the humidity level inside your home should stay constant at around 50%. If it rises much higher than this, it can make it nearly impossible for your AC to keep up. If you suspect your home has issues with high humidity, you can easily check using an inexpensive portable hygrometer which you should be able to pick up at any hardware or home improvement store. Another option is to upgrade to a smart thermostat, as most of these can also measure humidity levels in addition to temperature.
Expert HVAC Services From Trusted, Local Professionals
If you’re experiencing issues with high humidity or any other problems with your home’s heating or cooling systems, the expert team at Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning is ready to help you overcome them. We offer a full range of HVAC services, including cooling and heating maintenance and repairs. We also specialize in new equipment installations, including whole-home dehumidifiers, and we work on water heaters and electrical systems as well. Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning has two locations in Seattle and Lynwood, and we have more than 30 years of experience providing exceptional home services throughout the Puget Sound area. Don’t suffer with high indoor humidity a minute longer. Instead, give the experts at Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning a call to see how we can help.