From the incredible culinary selections to the breath-taking mountains, Georgia residents have a lot of reasons to be proud of their state. There are some aspects that we may be less proud of than others, though. For many Georgians one of those things happens to be the quality of our summer air, which can often be characterized as “sticky” at times. What is to blame for that icky feeling, and is there any escaping it?
Naming the Culprit
The cause of this less than stellar feeling is humidity. Humidity comes from water in the air. Unless there’s 0% humidity, there is always water in the air.
“But it’s not raining!”
Yes, but our atmosphere is capable of holding water inside of it. This is indeed what allows our planet to support life, and not have a uninhabitable atmosphere like that of Mercury or Mars. So humidity is, in fact, a good thing. However, too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing.
Our body gives off moisture in the form of sweat (even at rest). That sweat is absorbed by the air and allows us to continue feeling comfortable. When the humidity is too high, the sweat cannot be absorbed and clings to our skin instead. This is what leads to the uncomfortable sticky feeling.
What Do We Do Now?
There isn’t much that can be done with the humidity outside. That is simply what we call the Georgia climate. But there is much that can be done with that air once it makes its way into your home. Believe it or not, Air Conditioners are capable of controlling the humidity as well.
Really a properly functioning HVAC system conditions your air in three ways – by controlling the temperature, by controlling the quality (filtration), and by controlling the humidity. So when your system is running, it is indeed pulling out some of that moisture.
If you’re feeling sticky in your house, however, then there is an issue with how much humidity there is in the air. There is an Average morning relative humidity of 86%! This percentage represents how much water the air can hold. When the number reaches 100%, then the air cannot hold any more water all and the next step is rain.
So that number in Georgia Average 86% during the day. Let’s put that in perspective – the Average among all US states is 63%. That makes Georgia the 4th highest in the entire United States, only behind Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi!
When Your Unit Can’t Keep Up
45-50% humidity is the sweet spot where we feel most comfortable. The majority of A/C systems on the market do not humidify independently. What that means is if your home reaches its ideal temperature, the unit shuts off. However, it may not have been able to pull all the excess moisture out of the air. What’s the result?
You end up feeling sticky and uncomfortable. Not only that, but an increase in humidity also means you will feel warmer than the actual temperature, depending on how much humidity is present. At the end of the day, an excessive amount of humidity is a huge problem.
What Humidity Does
A while ago, we covered in our blog that too little humidity can cause a number of health problems. At the other end of the spectrum is too much humidity. The problems only start with discomfort.
Wood furnishings may become damaged from the excessive water in the air. Your health may diminish as humidity can cause headaches, asthma attacks, eye irritation, nose irritation, sore throat, and respiratory problems. In more extreme cases, mold and severe respiratory infections can also occur.
The effects clearly range from mild symptoms to severe disorders. But don’t be too alarmed just yet. If you were at risk for any of the higher level problems, you probably would have taken action by now. They don’t sneak up out of nowhere after all.
However, if you have any reason to believe that mold has started to manifest in your home, please call a mold remediation company immediately. These are specialist who can determine if mold is your culprit, and what to do about it.
How to Prevent Humidity From Becoming a Problem
Obviously, it’s best to not have it get to that level in the first place. The best way to eliminate humidity is to invest in equipment designed to lower humidity to a comfortable level. These devices are called Dehumidifiers. We use Bryant’s dehumidifiers which are compact and quiet devices. They are capable of serving a whole homes effectively.
If you decide to shop around for yourself, please be careful selecting one. Not all of these dehumidifiers are created equally. Here are some of the key features you’ll want to have (which our dehumidifiers comes with):
- Corrosion Protection
- MERV 8 Filter
- Wall Mounted Control Panel (Optional)
- LCD Control Panel On Unit (You Really Don’t Want Manual Knobs – Trust Us)
- Quiet Operation
- 5 Year Warranty
Excessive humidity can have devastating effects. If you’re not feeling comfortable in your home due to humidity, than you are at the first step of a very slippery slope. Please consider seeking professional help to correct your problem before it grows out of hand. Remember, Gainesville Mechanical is always here to lend a helping hand!