Why am I uncomfortable in my house?
Comfort is NOT just Temperature: Relative Humidity PLUS Temperature
Certain times of the year, outdoor temperatures are very “comfortable” but our homes often feel very stuffy. What most people don’t realize is that the temperature listed on your thermostat or on the weather channel is only one part of the picture. Relative Humidity is equally as important when it comes to being comfortable.
Average Human comfort (not everybody but most people) is with 75 degree temperature with 50% relative humidity. Often times in shoulder seasons(think spring and fall) the weather here in Houston can be amazing ranging around 60-75 degrees. It is the best time of year for Houston weather but often times our homes can feel pretty uncomfortable…..stuffy. The reason for the stuffiness is due to the amount of moisture in the indoor air.
Air Conditioning systems ARE dehumidifiers. They naturally pull moisture from the air as they cool down your home. A problem that we encounter in those shoulder months is that most air conditioning systems will satisfy TOO QUICKLY. Meaning that when you set your thermostat to 74 the system will run for a short period and hit your desired temp. Sounds like a good thing right? Well it is from an electrical usage standpoint but NOT for being comfortable when the air is relatively HUMID. An air conditioner that satisfies too quickly will NOT dehumidify the living space enough and therefore will leave you stuffy.
There are really only three ways to get through this stuffiness.
1. Do Nothing – Endure your sticky house. Stay Strong it should pass….. till next season. At least it’s free.
2. Two Stage or Variable Speed Equipment A/C Equipment– Most systems are single stage. Mean when they run they only run at MAX SPEED. Imagine having a car that would only run with the gas pedal either either full pressed or the brake fully pressed? Pretty inefficient. Two Stage and Variable Speed Inverter systems can basically act like smaller or larger systems depending on the need of the home. This promotes longer run time and better dehumidification of the air in your home. It does not perfectly perform the task of dialing in your homes humidity exactly but is superior to single stage.
3. Whole House Dehumidifier – Having a dedicated system for dehumidification is the only way to truly dial in the humidity for your house. Honeywell and Ultra-Aire have decent products in this category. These are units which supplement with your HVAC system to remove moisture from the air in your house. They need to be matched to the size of your home. Installed prices range from $2500-$5,000.