Excessive humidity or moisture buildup in your home can cause higher than necessary energy bills if left uncontrolled in your home during the summer months. When excess humidity is removed from your indoor air, you’ll feel cooler at higher temperatures, which can improve your energy efficiency. High indoor humidity can also contribute to the growth of mold, dust mites, and fungus. To maintain cool comfort and protect your home, aim for a relative humidity of around 45-50 percent. And because you can’t manage it until you measure it, start by purchasing an inexpensive humidistat. Your heating and cooling system can be manually operated to manage the humidity, based on readings of your humidistat. Even better, today’s modern thermostats can automatically manage the temperature, humidity, and air purity for you!
If the humidity is too high in your home, running the air conditioner will remove moisture as it cools the air. Although most central air conditioning systems are capable of dehumidifying the air, a high-efficiency system will do an even better job. High-efficiency, 16 SEER (and above) systems provide variable speeds which run longer on lower power as opposed to basic lower SEER systems which run in either on or off mode. Longer operation means the air conditioner has more time to remove humidity from the air. As another bonus, high-efficiency systems do not allow humidity to build up in the way that lower SEER systems can. The air is constantly being conditioned so there’s less chance of stagnant, humid air lingering.
Consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier, which first cools air to rid it of moisture and then reheats the dry air back to room temperature. Here are more humidity-reducing tips for your home:
- A family of four can add more than six gallons of moisture to the air each day just through showering, cooking, washing clothes, breathing, and perspiring. Avoid activities that add moisture to the air on humid days.
- Install and use vent fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Have your walls, ceilings, and floors checked for adequate insulation which measures up to ENERGY STAR recommendations.
- Increase ventilation with a ceiling fan or consider an energy recovery ventilator (ERV), which exchanges stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air, as well as provides moisture control.
- Check windows and doors for air leaks and seal with long-lasting caulk or weather stripping.
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