The Impact Humidity Can Have on Your AC

Humidity can send your energy bills skyrocketing by wrecking havoc to your air conditioning unit’s coils, and more. 

So, are we going to share various ways of reducing humidity in your home?

No, and that’s the irritating part.

Your AC units, according to the climate outside, may or may not need humidity to function properly. Let’s get started with the basics.


Seasons and AC units — the Layman Summary

What is Humidity?

Humidity is another name for the net moisture in the atmosphere, which in your case is the atmosphere of your home or office building. This moisture is essentially in the form of miniscule droplets of liquid, primarily water. As a result, it easily disperses throughout space in the building. It plays a vital role in increasing/decreasing the capacity of the AC to maintain required levels of thermal comfort. 


AC units, summers, and winters 

In summary, the absence/presence of humidity is a prime variable that can significantly reduce or increase your energy bills.

The problem: AC units need to reject humidity when it is readily available, i.e. during summers and while it is in dire need of it when it is scarce, i.e. during winters. 


The solution: Adding the right equipment or naturally controlling the level of humidity present in the internal atmosphere of your home/office-building.


How Humidity Affects the Cooling Capacity of Your AC Units

Your AC unit comprises of multiple cooling coils that are connected to a compressor and a suction fan. The coils are placed such that the air flowing through the unit, or in case of HVACs the air ducts, directly collides with the coils. Since the coils are continuously being cooled by the compressor, they cause moisture in the air to lose the heat energy. The result is a cooler and more comfortable room temperature.  


Humidity as a Problem: Compared to dry air molecules, it is harder to cool moisture. 


As stated earlier, humid air contains high amounts of vaporized liquid (moisture). When this moist air collides with the cooling coils, the moisture condenses into liquid vapors. As a result, most of the energy supplied to the coils is used for removing humidity instead of cooling the room. This is one way your AC unit dehumidifies the air, and only when acceptable levels of humidity have been achieved does the coil start cooling the air. 


You see? High levels of humidity in the summer actually forces the AC to utilize more energy for dehumidifying the air. Though it is necessary to improve thermal comfort levels, it increases energy costs, and also decreases the effectiveness of the unit as more time is spent liquefying the moisture instead of cooling the air. 


How Humidity Affects the Heating Capacity of your AC Units

During winters, humidity levels drop dramatically. As a result, the heat pump in the AC, or your HVAC, will have to work a lot harder. Why? Because it is easier to transfer heat energy through moisture than through dry air molecules! Or in terms of “Physics 101”, it is easier to transfer heat through convection than radiation. 


What Should You Do? 

Pair your AC units with de-humidifiers and humidifiers. This will increase the effectiveness of the AC unit, and its energy consumption – and hence those bills!

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