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Air Wise Tip 4: What does SEER actually mean?
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Air Wise Tip 6: Preparing Your Home for Cool Weather Ahead
It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!
Here in Houston and it’s easy to feel the effects of humidity — sticky skin, beads of sweat on your brow and air so saturated with moisture that it’s almost difficult to breath. An ambient temperature of 95 degrees combined with 80-90% humidity (typical for Houston) can actually feel like 105-110 degrees.
However, when it comes to humidity inside your home, the symptoms change. You can experience cold, clammy skin in addition to sneezing and coughing.
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. Too much of it promotes growth in mold and dust mites. Both are significant indoor allergens which can set off allergic reactions such as rhinitis and asthma. Keeping the humidity inside your home around 50% or lower provides relief from these aggravations.
A wet house also draws insects. Bugs are always looking for water, and indoor condensation provides them with the water they need.
If indoor humidity is too high, you can solve the problem with ventilation, dehumidifiers and most importantly, air conditioning. Be sure to vent areas which create moisture such as the bathroom or kitchen. You can also have a dehumidifier installed that will work in concert with your A/C system to eliminate excess humidity.
With A/C tonnage, more is NOT better
The best solution to provide ideal indoor air quality and a comfortable level of humidity is a properly installed and maintained air conditioner system. A good rule of thumb is one ton of air conditioning for every 400-500 square feet of indoor space. When properly sized, it can cool the air and remove humidity. However, too much tonnage creates problems. The A/C system cools the air too quickly and not run long enough to pull sufficient moisture from the air. You end up with cold, wet air. Sixty-eight degrees with 80% humidity feels very cold and clammy while 78 degrees with properly dehydrated air (around 50% humidity) can feel quite good. Cold, dehydrated air is what’s most desired.
Trivia: According to Wikipedia, Houston is the most air conditioned city in the world.