Having a home that is dry and comfortable is essential during any month of the year. An HVAC system that is working properly should both sufficiently heat or cool your home and help control humidity levels. Here’s what your system does to make your home less stuffy and what you can do to help remove excess humidity from your home.
A modern HVAC system includes evaporator coils, the system’s secret weapon for combatting humidity. These cold coils condense the water vapor that the system collects from the air into liquid water. This collection process happens in a pipeline. As the water is condensed, it flows through the pipeline and into a connected drain, which removes it from the home.
Supporting Your HVAC System With Additional Measures
Although a properly functioning HVAC system should be able to thoroughly remove humidity, the process can take considerable time. A dehumidifier may be just what your home needs to get rid of stubborn humidity completely. At the very least, a dehumidifier will aid in your HVAC system’s performance. If your system is relatively new and seems to be doing a good job, a dehumidifier should be able to do the rest of the work.
Sometimes, additional measures need to be taken. This is especially true in warmer and more tropical climates. If your HVAC system and dehumidifier just aren’t cutting it, there are some other actions you can take.
Use Your Exhaust and Ventilation Fans
Although we might only think to use them when there’s smoke or excess steam present, using your exhaust and ventilation fans on a daily basis can prevent water vapor accumulation. While cooking food on the stove or enjoying a hot shower, turn your ventilation fans on to get rid of the moisture. Leaving them on for a little while after you are finished is always a good idea.
Fix Leaky Pipes
Leaky pipes can add a lot more moisture to a home than one may expect. If you think you may have a leak somewhere, it’s good to look around. If you find something, try to fix it as soon as possible. Once the leak has been repaired, use insulators as a reinforcement. Wrapping exposed pipes in insulators will prevent condensation from forming.
Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clean
While this may seem like an outdoor problem, indoor leaks are often caused by poorly maintained gutters. Having clean gutters can ensure that the water flows exactly as it should and doesn’t collect around your foundation, where it can seep into your home. In addition to cleaning your gutters, make sure that your downspout is pointed away from your home.
If it’s stuffy inside a home, you might assume it’s just as humid outdoors. However, this isn’t always the case, as humidity can easily become trapped inside a home. Opening a window can make a huge difference.
While having outdoor air flowing inside can do wonders, it’s important to avoid opening windows while an AC unit is running. If your AC doesn’t seem to be working at all, then open windows may be the better option.
Dry Clothes Outside
Although line-drying laundry outdoors is considered old-fashioned and impractical to some, it can make a major difference. Wet clothes that are hung indoors or dried in an electric dryer during hot months can cause severe humidity problems. If drying your laundry inside is your only option, having a dehumidifier in that general area can help tremendously.
This may come as a surprise, but charcoal briquettes can suck moisture out of the air like a sponge. If you have some leftover briquettes from your barbecue, consider using them. Simply take a can or basket and place a handful of briquettes inside. Aim to replace them every two or three months.
Relocate House Plants
House plants make for a cozy home atmosphere, but they also carry considerable moisture. If your home is facing a humidity crisis, it might be best to move the plants outside or into a room that is well-ventilated.
Turn Your Fan On
If there’s a room or several rooms that are particularly hot and humid, having fans in those rooms can do a great deal. When air circulates throughout a space, moisture is removed more easily.
Desiccants can be found at most hardware stores and can be very effective. They typically come in the form of silica, rock salt, and baking soda. Place the desiccants around the home as you feel necessary. Desiccant packets, which usually contain silica gel, can be placed in window sills. They work to reduce window fogginess.
Optimizing Your System’s Dehumidification Performance
A good HVAC system should be able to adjust to changing conditions. If your system isn’t removing humidity from the air as well as you think it could, here are some things to look for.
In warm and sticky climates, an ideal AC fan speed is about 350 CFM (cubic feet per minute) per ton. Some systems are set up to move faster than that, which is not optimal for moisture removal. A CFM per ton at or around 350 (rather than 400) will allow the evaporator coil to become colder. A colder coil removes more moisture.
Thermal Expansion Valve
A thermal expansion valve, or TXV, helps your AC unit use more of its evaporator coil. It also helps the evaporator coil use the refrigerant more efficiently. If any part of your evaporator coil isn’t working, a thermal expansion valve will make sure that it does.
Keep a Clean Evaporator Coil
Keeping your system’s evaporator coil clean will help it maintain proper function. Even small amounts of dirt can interfere with the dehumidification process. Over time, particulates will inevitably enter your air conditioner. Once these particulates begin to accumulate on the coil, the system will lose its ability to effectively pull moisture from the home. It’s best to call an HVAC professional to have this fixed.
When your AC’s refrigerant charge is too low, the system won’t be able to efficiently remove moisture. It’s always a good idea to call an HVAC professional if you suspect this might be an issue, as it can lead to more serious and costly damages.
Check Your HVAC Filter
The filter on your HVAC system has the important job of trapping dirt, dust, and other debris so that it doesn’t circulate throughout your home. When these filters clog up, it can affect the overall performance of your HVAC system. In addition to making the system work harder to heat and cool your home, clogged filters also make it more difficult for the system to remove excess humidity. You should replace your filters at least every 90 days to ensure that your system performs optimally.
Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance
Ensuring that your HVAC system is well maintained will also help reduce stuffiness inside your home. During a maintenance visit, a technician will check your air filters, inspect the wiring and other electrical components, and clean and lubricate moving parts. All of this will ensure that there are no issues getting in the way of HVAC performance.
At Blue Ribbon Cooling & Heating, we’re passionate about serving the great people of Bastrop, Texas and surrounding areas. In addition to humidity control, some of our other services include AC installation and repair, ductless mini-split systems, heat pumps, air quality, and furnace installation and repair. No matter how your home is designed, our team of professionals is ready to address its needs. Give us a call today!