Isn’t air conditioning supposed to remove humidity? So why is yours not doing the job? If you’re sweating your way through another muggy Niceville, FL season, read on to learn more about HVAC humidity control and why your AC might not be up to the task. Gulfshore Air is Northwest Florida’s trusted, award-winning HVAC contractor.
1. Your AC is limited to a single speed
When the unit can only run at one speed, it turns on and runs full blast until the air reaches a set temperature. Then it turns off until the temperature once again goes above the thermostat threshold. That often means the unit doesn’t run consistently enough to remove humidity. That’s especially true at times when the temperature isn’t too high, but the air is very humid. https://gulfshoreair.com/trusted-products/ac-units-heat-pumps/
When it’s time for a new AC system, think about investing in a modulating HVAC system such as a Variable Speed Compressor. Variable speed systems can run longer at a lower capacity, so it does a much better job of humidity control (and providing more consistent temperatures) which is essential during a hot and humid Panhandle summer. Another plus: you’ll notice lower energy bills as well!
2. Your AC unit is too large for the space
First of all, when we talk about AC size, it’s about cooling capacity, not the physical size of the unit. That’s not the only part that people misunderstand about AC size. If you’re not an HVAC expert, it may seem counter-intuitive to say that your air conditioner is too big to do the job effectively. You may assume that a larger system will cool your home more efficiently. Unfortunately, the answer is no. The fact is, an oversized AC system does a poor job of controlling both temperature and humidity. That’s because the powerful compressor turns on and off frequently, so the system never runs long enough to remove humidity from the air. Your AC size needs to be carefully calculated using a load calculation process. If your AC was chosen and installed by a builder rather than a qualified HVAC company, there’s a good chance that it was done incorrectly. That’s how many homes and businesses end up with oversized units that provide poor HVAC humidity control. You may actually need to install a smaller capacity AC system to fix this problem.
3. Negative air pressure in your space
Negative air pressure is the result of an inefficient ventilation system. In a nutshell, it means that you are venting too much air from the space. When you have negative pressure, the air tries to balance itself by drawing in more outside air any way that it can. For example, whenever someone opens an outside door, a draft from outside enters the room. Outside air is also drawn in through every little opening in the building. So what happens when the relative humidity outside gets into the ’70s, ’80s and above? You guessed it, all that hot and humid air is being drawn into the building. If the problem is bad enough, your AC may not be able to keep up, and HVAC humidity control is compromised. Considering redesigning your ventilation system will help correct the problem.
4. You’re using the wrong thermostat setting
Thermostats can be confusing. You may think you’re getting rid of more humidity by using your thermostat’s FAN ON setting. When you use this setting, the fan runs continuously even when the AC is not running. The fan does move air even without the AC running, so you might feel like you’re getting some cooling benefit, which is nice at the moment. But you’re actually worsening the humidity conditions. The moisture your AC has removed will find its way back into the space before it has a chance to drain away.
5. Your older unit simply can’t handle the load
As they say, all good things must come to an end. With age, your unit’s parts wear and it may not run as efficiently as it used to. That tendency is increased when the system hasn’t been serviced regularly. In addition to inconsistent temperatures and inadequate cooling, you’ll start to notice poor HVAC humidity control. At this point, you may be facing a repair or replace decision. If your HVAC system just needs a few tweaks to get it running properly, you can try these measures to boost your system’s ability to fight that indoor mugginess.
- CLEAN THE COILS
This is the first thing you should try when trying to achieve a better HVAC humidity control from your older system. Humid air outdoors is rough on your AC’s condenser coils, especially in Northwest Florida. The humidity makes the coils grimy. That layer of dirt and debris hinder the unit’s ability to release heat. As a result, the AC does not operate as efficiently and may have more trouble removing humidity from the air inside.
- GET A PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PLAN
Cleaning only the coils may not be enough to restore performance and better HVAC humidity control if the rest of the system hasn’t been properly maintained. When you invest in a preventative maintenance plan for your air conditioner, you get a regular inspection, tune-up, and cleaning of system components. Doing so keeps it running as efficiently as possible to provide better HVAC humidity control. Your tech will have full knowledge of the HVAC system and will be able to identify and solve problems before they worsen.
- ADD A DEHUMIDIFIER TO YOUR SYSTEM
If you are not ready to invest in a new system, you can add a dehumidifier to your air conditioning system for better HVAC humidity control. A dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air before it travels through your ductwork and into your space. Ask a knowledgeable HVAC professional to recommend a dehumidifier that’s compatible with your air conditioning system.
Gulfshore Air will be able to make a professional diagnosis of your particular problem and let you know what kind of service you will need to remedy any humidity issues in your home. You can contact us by email at [email protected] or call us at 850-897-9499 to schedule an appointment.