Negative Effects Humidity Can Have on Your AC Unit
High humidity can have negative effects on your AC unit. Humidity generally refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. When it is too high, it can make the atmosphere feel oppressive. When it is hot and humid, we often feel worse because it becomes more difficult to feel cooler as sweat does not evaporate as easily as when the air is drier. Normal humidity levels indoors will range somewhere between 30-50%. When it is too high, you will typically see evidence of condensation on the glass of windows and mirrors. You can also use a hygrometer to check humidity levels more accurately.
Modern AC units are installed with thermostats that allow the homeowner to regulate the temperature in the home. However, they may not control or measure humidity levels unless specifically equipped with a dehumidifier. Though running an AC may reduce humidity to some extent, it is best to try and limit the amount of moisture in the home when using an AC, as continued exposure to high levels of humidity in the air can negatively affect the machine and the health of occupants.
When you have an AC running when humidity is high, it often cannot run effectively. It may not be able to cool rooms optimally, forcing the machine to work harder. The AC can strain to try and achieve and maintain the required temperature set on the thermostat, resulting in uneven cooling of rooms. High humidity makes the air warmer and heavier, causing the AC to work harder to make the air cooler and circulate better.
Increased Wear and Tear on the AC System
When high humidity conditions persist, your AC unit will be pushed to work harder for much longer. This stress will affect its life span. It will become worn much faster and subject to more frequent breakdowns. Repair calls will be more frequent, which can translate into unwanted expenses.
Need for Replacement
Repairs are not the only impact when you have recurrent breakdowns of your AC unit. As your unit works harder to try and achieve and maintain the desired temperature in the home, it shortens the life span of the machine. The homeowner will likely be forced to buy a replacement unit sooner than someone else using the same model in a less humid climate. Upgrading or replacing this unit can be very costly.
As the AC works harder to maintain the desired temperature, it will use more energy, resulting in higher utility costs. Overall, the homeowner can expect that when humidity is high, they will have to pay more for repairs, utilities, and replacement when the unit becomes financially unfeasible to keep repairing.
Increased Risk of Mold
When you have high humidity levels in the home, it creates a conducive environment for mold to grow and spread. This typically happens when humidity rises above 50%. Running your AC under such conditions can worsen the situation as the circulating air can help to carry mold spores throughout the home. It can create new areas where the mold can take hold and grow, including some parts of HVAC systems. It can also harm air quality. Seniors, babies, and immunocompromised who breathe in such contaminated air can easily develop respiratory problems. It is vital to ensure that if you are having humidity problems in the home, they are addressed as quickly as possible.
How to Fix Humidity Problems
Investing in a dehumidifier is a good idea. You can install a whole system into your existing HVAC system or opt for standalone devices for each room. Dehumidifiers will help remove moisture from the air and allow your AC unit to run more effectively and efficiently.
Ensuring that maintenance is regularly done on your HVAC system will also help. A technician will be able to determine if humidity could be causing your AC to run poorly and advise you on how to address the problem. When you have regular maintenance performed on your unit, the cleaning of the system will also help reduce any dirt and moisture conditions that can promote mold growth.