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Why Humidity Can Make Summer Heat Much Worse


What is it about humidity? We know—because we live in an area that often experiences high humidity during the middle of the year—that a hot day feels much hotter, and much less pleasant, when the humidity levels soar. A “dry heat” means “a tolerable heat.”

But what is it specifically about humidity that makes a hot summer day much harder to take? We have the answer to that question—and we also have a way to help you beat high humidity inside your home. (You’re on your own outside, however!)

High Humidity Is Like Wearing a Coat in Summer

Although a humid day feels hotter, the temperature of the air isn’t actually hotter. If it’s 85°F outside, a change in humidity from 30% relative humidity to 80% relative humidity doesn’t alter that temperature by a single degree. What changes is how the heat feels to you. High humidity can make 85°F feel like 95°F. That’s why on weather apps you’ll often see two temperatures listed: actual temperature, and what it feels like.

What’s happening is that the larger amount of moisture saturated in the air slows down your ability to release heat through your skin. It’s difficult to release heat through perspiration when there’s already too much water around you. Heat ends up trapped in your body, similar to how putting on a coat in cold weather makes you feel warmer because it’s trapping heat. Of course, you don’t want a coat on during a summer day, but that’s what the high humidity makes it feel like.

When Is Humidity Considered Too High?

We’ve mentioned relative humidity above. This is the standard measure used to describe how humid a day is. It’s the amount of water vapor in the air expressed as a percentage of the amount necessary to completely saturate the air. So at 100% humidity, no more water can be saturated into the air—i.e. it’s raining or misting. The ideal relative humidity level is around 45%. If it’s above 60%, that’s too humid, while below 30% is too low. (Dry air can create its own troubles, and it makes colder weather feel colder.)

Balancing Your Indoor Humidity

It takes the assistance of a Wilson, NC HVAC company to help keep your home from breaking too much of a sweat in the summer. A whole-house dehumidifier is an effective way to remove excess water vapor from your house. The dehumidifier is installed into the HVAC system, where it works in tandem with the AC. The dehumidifier draws moisture from the air using cold refrigerant, then removes the condensate to the outside. Because the temperature of the air drops during this process, the dehumidifier reheats the air so it doesn’t throw off the cooling performance of the AC. The dehumidifier is controlled from a device called a humidistat, which is often integrated into the standard thermostat.

We install whole-house dehumidifiers, and we can also equip homes with humidifiers for a perfect indoor air balance around the year. Talk to one of our indoor air quality experts today.

Call Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. and enjoy the comfort you deserve in the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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