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Turn Off Your Humidifier Before You Run the AC

water-dripping-imageWe want to make sure that your air conditioner runs as smoothly as possible throughout the summer. Sometimes, the smallest of user errors is the reason your system fails to function the way it is meant to, and our technicians want to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

We’ve seen it before—someone gets so used to having the humidifier on that they forget to shut it off before the summer begins. But this extra layer of humidity hurts your home, your wallet, and your comfort.

What Is Humidity?

Humidity, or relative humidity, is a scientific term that describes the amount of moisture in the air. In the middle of summer, you might want to jump into a nice swimming pool to cool off. We may associate pools, lakes, and an ice cold glass of water with cooling down, but when that water is in the air, it’s a different story.

Water vapor is water in its gaseous state, and there’s always some amount of humidity in the air. Most experts put a comfortable level of humidity for people at about 30%-50%. 50% humidity would mean that the air is holding about half of the water vapor it is able to hold—like a half-soaked sponge.

Dry air, or a low level of humidity, can have a noticeable effect, as you may have chapped lips or dry skin. 100% humidity is the dew point for the air. But anything higher than 50% can significantly decrease your comfort, especially if it’s hot out.

How Does Humidity Affect Body Temperature?

Your body has developed a number of defense mechanisms against harsh outdoor temperatures. When it’s cold out, you shiver to create muscle movement that can warm you up. When it’s hot out, you sweat.

Sweat helps to regulate body temperatures, as long as that sweat is able to evaporate from your skin and cool you off. But when there is too much moisture in the air, sweat cannot evaporate into the air, due to the high levels of water vapor already in the air. You’ll feel warmer, even if the temperature isn’t necessarily as hot as you think.

You’ll end up spending more on air conditioning if you feel warmer and adjust the thermostat accordingly. In addition, you air conditioner can malfunction, and you might wear it down too quickly. Basically, you’ll waste energy to feel less comfortable.

How Do You Shut Off the Humidifier for Spring and Summer?

Usually, the humidistat control is found on the return air plenum, which is located near the actual installation (where your filter is). You may also have to close the bypass duct damper if your system uses one.

You should also shut off the water valve that leads to the humidifier and clean out the system according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you need help with any part of this process, a local technician can address the particulars of your specific system. And if the air in your area gets too humid, you may want to consider a dehumidifier installation as well.

Contact Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning for air conditioning services in Colorado Springs, CO.

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