Using Air Conditioners to Control Humidity – Inefficient and Ineffective
Contact: Nikki Krueger
Madison, Wis. (March 31, 2005) -- It is that time of year again, where the temperature and humidity start rising outside and the thermostat gets lowered inside. It is also the time of year when you hear people say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” and most likely they are right. You see, Florida is among the wettest states in the nation, it is so humid, its summers are ranked among the most uncomfortable.
To combat this discomfort many homeowners find themselves cranking up the air conditioning, thinking it will remove the excess moisture. But according to Florida Solar Energy Center®, homeowners should never lower the thermostat temperature in an attempt to control humidity in their home.
“Setting the thermostat temperature lower does two things that are counter to your goal of reducing the moisture content in your home,” said Neil Moyer, Principal Research Engineer for Florida Solar Energy Center. “It actually increases the indoor relative humidity and more importantly it decreases the temperature of the materials in the walls, floors, and ceilings of your home, thereby significantly increasing the potential for moisture condensation on these elements of the home.”
Tips from the Experts for Reducing Excess Moisture in the Home:
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers and stoves to the outside where possible.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
- Seal unwanted air leaks, such as around holes for plumbing and wiring, this is where humid outside air sneaks into the home.
- Use dehumidifiers when needed.
Miami homeowner, John Graves, followed these tips but was still concerned about the amount of humidity that was infiltrating his home from the outside.
“The high humidity level in the house was driving us to crank up our air conditioning, even during the cooler months, because we were so uncomfortable,” said Graves. “Not to mention the damage the moisture was causing to our home and belongings.”
Graves had a whole-home dehumidifier installed on his cooling system last year and has noticed a significant difference.
“It has tremendously improved the comfort level in our home,” said Graves. “We have seen our energy bill drop because we don’t have to over cool the house in order to remove the humidity. Plus, our clothes are fresher and we don’t have mold growing on our shoes anymore.”
A whole-home dehumidifier, like the Model 1700 offered by Aprilaire, is integrated into the cooling system and removes up to 90 pints of moisture from the entire home each day. By constantly measuring indoor relative humidity, the dehumidifier will automatically adjust to manage moisture based on changing conditions. There is no need for the homeowner to change settings, or even empty a tank once it is installed.
For more information on how to control humidity in your home, log on to www.aprilaire.com.
In the average Central Florida home 38 percent of the air-conditioning energy is used to remove moisture. Source: Florida Solar Energy Center
In Florida, each one degree increase in thermostat temperature decreases air conditioning cooling energy costs by 10 percent. Source: Florida Solar Energy Center