Humidity in the Home: Is the Air in Your Stockton Home Too Humid?
We had a wet start to this month and that looks like it could be a trend. El Nino is making itself known early, bringing rain and cold temperatures to our already often-foggy state.[1. https://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/101515-noaa-strong-el-nino-sets-the-stage-for-2015-2016-winter-weather.html] That’s great for our state’s drought, but not for your home. If your air is more humid than usual, it may be the weather–but it could also be something you can fix with HVAC service.
Humidity in the Home: Environment or HVAC?
You may not know this, but an important part of HVAC systems is the regulation of humidity inside a building. This is because HVAC deals with internal climate, and humidity is part of a building’s internal climate. Overly-humid houses can be problematic for a number of reasons. They can be uncomfortable for the residents, and sometimes make the air more difficult to breathe. They’re also perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew. And in a very humid house, it seems like the towels never really dry–and sometimes neither does your hair after a shower!
Your home may be humid because of the outside air, especially if that air is becoming damper and wetter (as it does this time of year). If the house was comfortable a few months ago but is now damp and humid the weather is probably the cause–or at least part of the cause.
Your home may also be humid because of an inefficient HVAC system. HVAC cools air, which can produce moisture. If your home has always felt a little damper or more humid than you’d like, regardless of the time of year, your HVAC system may be to blame.
If your home has become damper this month than in the past, there are two little words we should talk about: positive pressure. In this case, “positive” refers to a pushing action. Imagine your home is like a pair of lungs. Those lungs can be full of air, but which direction is the air going? When your HVAC system is working right, it’s like you’re exhaling. No air can get into your lungs because you’re pushing air out. That’s what the HVAC system does in the home–it brings in enough air that there’s a higher pressure inside the home than outside. This keeps the air flowing out, and that stops humid air from coming in, even if you open the door.[2. https://www.wbdg.org/resources/hvac_humidclimates.php]
It doesn’t take much positive pressure to keep outside air outside the home, so if that air is getting in then your system really isn’t doing its job. Figuring out is another problem, though, and one that will require the help of an HVAC tech. There are a host of things that could be going wrong, and you won’t know what the problem is for sure until a contractor takes a look at it.
The HVAC System
The fact is, the Valley is a pretty dry place all things considered. So if your house is constantly humid for no discernible reason, or you’re having issues with mold and mildew, your HVAC system may be to blame–specifically your air conditioning.
Many systems cool air in ways that can produce humidity. Any system that uses water in its function–and that’s almost all of them–has the potential to put excess moisture into the air. If not working correctly, the AC system humidifies the air as it cools it, and then disperses that humidified air all through the house. The result? A damp, humid home at serious risk for mold and mildew.
Evaporation coolers–also known as swamp coolers–can also over-humidify the air. If you’re using an evaporation cooler in conjunction with (or instead of) an AC system, and your home is very humid, the cooler could be the problem. Many people use these coolers in rooms that aren’t serviced correctly by the AC system. But that’s actually a sign that the HVAC is not working optimally. That’s why in many cases a more efficient AC system is the solution. That could mean a whole new unit, or just better ducting and other fixes to the room that isn’t getting conditioned air the same way the rest of the house is.
If your system is the problem, the cold and rainy weather is actually a good thing. It means that you won’t miss your AC if you need to get it worked on. The days you don’t need cooled air are the perfect days for an HVAC tech from Bell Brothers to work on your system without disrupting your comfort.