Adams Heating & Cooling
HVAC Experts You Can Trust
Serving Tuscaloosa, AL and surrounding areas since 1982
One of the least talked about but most important aspects of your comfort is humidity issues. The summer humidity is way too high in our area, and the winter humidity is too low in Tuscaloosa and surrounding cities.
Humidity control can cause all kinds of trouble when it is high and when it is low. The solution is to maintain your humidity levels between 35-45% year-round. Let’s look at how this humidity affects your home, your health, and ultimately your comfort.
Some things are occurring in your home that you may do not realize are caused by humidity swings. The first is as humidity rises in the summer, all the building materials and furnishings in your home absorb this moisture. This causes wood, hardwood floors, picture frames, trim and more to swell as it absorbs the excess moisture. As the humidity falls in the winter, all the wood, hardwood floors, picture frames, trim and more shrink and release the trapped moisture in the air.
You can see the result of the humidity swings in cracks in your trim, cracks in your hardwood, and any caulking. If your home has collectible antiques, high-end picture frames, or any other pieces of high value, you should know that the rise and fall of humidity are wreaking havoc on these pieces. In addition to the swelling and shrinking of everything in your home, you can also see humidity issues in your well-being.
Humidity can also play a big part in the health of everyone living in the home. Any humidity levels higher than 50% will allow mold to grow in and around the house. Sometimes you can see this mold in your bathroom or kitchen, but sometimes this mold is hidden behind sheetrock walls or flooring or trim. If your home is on a concrete slab, this concrete acts as a giant sponge. You can quickly grow a tremendous amount of mold under hardwood floors, carpeting, and tile.
Many times, the mold can cause serious health problems for the occupants. The symptoms can include neurological effects that mimic Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, migraines, and more. If anyone in your home is experiencing the onset of severe health issues after you moved into a home, then you should consider measuring your humidity levels. Low humidity can also cause mild health issues such as chronic chapped lips, dry airways, worsened snoring at night, and more. Humidity can also cause severe comfort issues in the home.
The cool crisp feel of air-conditioned air is due to the air temperature reduction, but humidity removal is critical. When air conditioning systems are oversized, they do not run long enough to remove enough humidity. The first tell-tale sign that you have a humidity issue is setting the thermostat temperature to levels below 70 degrees. If your average thermostat set point is around 67-68 degrees, you almost certainly have a humidity issue. When air conditioning removes enough humidity in the air, most people will report being cold at temperatures below 72 degrees. Low humidity in the winter can also cause severe comfort issues. Low humidity will result in frequent static electricity shocks, dry throat, sore throat, bleeding sinuses, and frizzy hair.
Humidity can wreak havoc on your home, your health, and your comfort. In the winter, your home’s humidity levels should be between 30-35%. In the summer, your home’s humidity levels should be between 35-45%. If you think you might have a humidity problem, we can come out and take some measurements.
For winter low humidity, the best solution is a whole house steam humidifier to add humidity back into the air. For summer, the best solution is a variable speed air conditioning system that also acts as a dehumidifier. We can also install a whole-house dehumidifier on your existing HVAC system. As a rule of thumb, if you need a new HVAC system soon, then install a variable speed new system. However, if your system is relatively new with no issues, then install a whole-house dehumidifier. Either way, if you think you might have a humidity issue, give us a call at Adams Heating & Cooling, and we can come out, take a look and let you know what’s going on and how to solve the problem best.