How often do we hear complaints about the humid weather here in Iowa? Humidity levels in Des Moines during the summer months can range anywhere from 52-82%.
The human body and your house are in a constant battle over what the humidity level should be. People are usually the most comfortable when humidity levels are around 50%. Additionally, your house can’t handle much more than a 60% humidity level. At this level you can start to encounter problems with mold growth in your home.
Not sure if the humidity levels in your home are too high? Here are a few signs to look for:
- You have your thermostat set to around 70 degrees, but the air still feels thick and moist.
- Your AC cycles on and off often.
- There is condensation on the walls or floors in your basement.
How to dehumidify a house
Think about your air conditioner as a giant dehumidifier. The best way to dehumidify your house is to make sure your air conditioner is maintained, properly sized and running constantly throughout the day. If you’re replacing your air conditioner, we always recommend a variable capacity unit. These models have a dehumidification mode, which means the unit will automatically measure the humidity in your house and turn on the AC at a lower capacity to dehumidify.
Another way to keep humidity levels in your home low in the summer is to keep the windows closed. People love to run their AC during the day when it’s hot outside and open the windows at night when it’s cooler. Unfortunately, this is not great for humidity control. Your air conditioning system spends the whole day adjusting to and maintaining an ideal humidity level, and by opening the windows the humidity level is immediately upset leaving you back at square one.
There is a misconception that the windows-open technique will help reduce energy costs. In reality, it will likely cost more money because the AC has to work doubly hard to dehumidify the house a second time. The best thing to do is to set the thermostat and leave the windows closed.
Adding a dehumidifier to your home
If after following our advice to keep the windows closed and your AC well maintained and running continuously, there are still high humidity levels in your home, it’s probably time to call in some backup in the form of a dehumidifier. Sometimes, dehumidifiers are necessary to get the humidity level in a home down to where it needs to be in order to avoid conditions that promote mold. If you decide to purchase a dehumidifier for your home, look for an Energy-Star rated model and put it in your basement next to the floor drain.
For more information about variable capacity air conditioning units and other home comfort options, contact Bell Brothers online or at 515-244-8911.