When the mercury starts rising, energy bills tend to rise right along with them. In the San Antonio area, the humidity can quickly overwhelm your AC system and leave you fanning yourself or sticking your head in the freezer. Before you go to those lengths, though, read up on the many ways the moisture in the air could be making your heat problem worse.
With the right cooling system in place, you’ll soon be able to sit back with an ice-cold drink and enjoy the chill in comfort.
It’s Not the Heat: It’s the Humidity!
Humidity is the measurement of moisture in the air. When water vapor saturates the air, it becomes more humid, which can make it feel warmer. We’re most comfortable when these levels are around 45 to 55 percent. Air conditioning systems work by removing hot, muggy air from the home and returning only refreshing cool air.
When the heat becomes humid during the spring, summer or even autumn, the temperature can feel hotter than it really is, and the air might feel thick or swampy. This is why meteorologists often provide two temperatures: the actual temperature and the heat index. The heat index measures how hot the air feels once the relative moisture levels are calculated into the temperature.
Moisture-filled air doesn’t just make the outside feel hotter. It can make your home feel warmer than it really is, too, which causes your AC system to run less efficiently. Without the right cooling capacity, high moisture can overwhelm your AC unit’s ability to cool your home. You’ll feel hotter, and your AC will need to run more often. Your energy bills will be higher, and your home will be uncomfortably warm even at temperatures that should be comfortable. It becomes a never-ending cycle of heat, discomfort, energy inefficiency and high costs.
Symptoms of excess dampness in your home include:
- Foggy windows
- Musty odors
- Moist-feeling air, which can cause your skin to feel clammy
If your home feels damp or uncomfortably warm and your AC just isn’t keeping up with the heat, it might be time for a checkup.
Taking Control of Moisture Levels in Your Home
Air conditioners work by removing some of the dampness in the home and by cooling the air. Using a dehumidifier or pairing your air conditioner unit with a dehumidifier will make it easy for you to have better control over both the temperature and the dampness of your home. Your air conditioner will work more effectively, and because it won’t be working so hard, your energy bills should decrease. Those foggy windows, damp smells and clammy-feeling skin will also vanish.
A simple AC system checkup can help you identify common trouble spots. Moisture tends to be hard on your AC unit’s condenser coils, which makes it harder for them to release heat properly. Clean them thoroughly so that your unit can run more efficiently and remove the moisture from the air as it should.
Cleaning the coils is the first step, but it might not be enough to get and keep your AC system operating at peak efficiency. Preventive maintenance that includes regular inspections and cleaning of your system’s components is essential. Our AC repair technician can thoroughly check out each part of your system and do a tune-up, spotting and fixing potential problems before they lead to complete system failure. You definitely do not want your AC dying in the middle of a heat wave!
Two-Stage Air Conditioners and Damp Air
You can also upgrade your AC system. That doesn’t mean you need a bigger, more powerful unit. In fact, that can be counterproductive. When an AC system is too big, it will cool your house to the desired temperatures without having enough time to remove moisture from the air. Your house might be the right temp, but it won’t feel comfortable.
Instead, switching to a two-stage air conditioner can lower your energy bills and the amounts of moisture in your air. Single stage ACs are either on or off. They turn on and run until they reach the right temperature, and then they turn off again. The inconsistency means that they often aren’t on long enough to remove moisture, much like the too-large systems. You’ll be uncomfortable, and your home will feel damp. They’re also energy hogs. Every time the unit powers up, it consumes a massive amount of energy, much like a car. As the day progresses, it will turn off and on numerous times, devouring both energy and your paycheck.
Two-stage AC systems work differently. They have two operation levels. On hot, muggy summer days, they’ll run at the high level needed to keep your home cool, dry and comfortable. On mild days, such as in the spring or autumn, they run on a lower setting unless needed to kick on higher. You’ll stay cool and comfortable, and the air in your home will be dryer. It won’t be turning on and off constantly, which means it will be more energy-efficient and cost-efficient.
Whether you need an AC checkup or a whole new system, we’re here to help. Our experienced AC repair technician in San Antonio and our whole team has the experience necessary to help you find the right cooling solution for your home or office. Call us today to learn more or to get a service quote.