How Humidity Affects HVAC Performance

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How Does Humidity Affect HVAC Performance? 

What is often misunderstood because of the physical process that’s occurring, is that HVAC units are not designed to remove water vapor from the air. And while slightly decreased humidity levels can be a positive side effect of the chemical process occurring, it’s not guaranteed.  

Decreased Efficiency 

When a room exhibits high relative humidity, HVAC systems have to work a lot harder to condense and remove the moisture in the room. Because of this, HVAC systems have to use more energy to do their work when humidity levels are elevated. This extra energy use often shows up on an expensive utility bill. 

Increased Repair Needs 

When an HVAC system has to work harder than it’s designed to, the frequency and type of maintenance and repair required can change drastically. If an HVAC system that usually requires semi-annual maintenance is over exerted for an extended period of time, it may have significant repair needs during its regular checkups. This could be as simple as consuming more filters or something more serious like a burned up compressor. 

Decreased Performance 

If an HVAC system isn’t working as well as it is expected to, it could be due to high relative humidity in the indoor atmosphere. HVAC systems that aren’t running efficiently can’t do their job well. If the system is struggling to overcome the high humidity, it may not be creating the comfortable cooling effect you’re looking for in your air conditioning system and instead creating a “cold and clammy” feeling.

What Are Some Signs of High Humidity? 

If your HVAC system isn’t working as well as you expect, a humidity problem could be to blame. The ideal indoor humidity level is between 40 and 60 percent, depending on the use of the area. There are a few signs you can look out for that high humidity is causing issues with your HVAC system: 

  • The air in the indoor atmosphere feels damp or moist. Commonly people can physically feel that the humidity level in an area is too high.  
  • Windows are fogging up. If the windows are fogging up on the inside, it could be because the relative humidity inside is too high.  
  • The space smells musty or mildew. If you can smell a faint mildew or musty smell, chances are relative humidity not at the right level. 
  • Cold drinks, duct work, and refrigerators exhibit condensation. High relative humidity means higher dew-points and condensation forming on cold surfaces.

Solving a Humidity Issue 

If your HVAC system isn’t working to its maximum capacity, you could be paying for it in other ways. Solve the problem with a commercial dehumidifier and lower your utility and maintenance bills. Want to learn more? Contact the team at Therma-Stor now.