Did you know that it might not necessarily be the heat that’s making you crank up your home’s air conditioning (A/C)? It’s the humidity. Actually, without a whole-house dehumidifier in your home, it’s likely both. Humid indoor air holds more heat and causes residents to crank up the A/C for relief, which cranks up their utility bills, too. Often, it’s only the water content in the air that needs adjustment, not the temperature.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor relative humidity levels of around 40 percent are ideal for comfort, cooling, and heating efficiency. Yet, average relative humidity on a summer day in Northeastern New Jersey exceeds 70 percent. Portable dehumidifiers that you see on the shelves of local stores may provide some relief in single rooms, but humidity travels throughout your entire home. What’s required is a whole-house strategy.

A whole-house dehumidifier mounts alongside your air conditioning ducts, and continuously treats the total air volume of your home. All that humid household air is dehumidified many times a day as it circulates through the system. So how do you know if you will benefit from a whole-house dehumidifier? Here are some quick ways to find out:

The comfort level in your home takes a huge hit when indoor humidity approaches outdoor levels. Despite adequate A/C, rooms may still feel warm–even when the temperature reading on the thermostat says they shouldn’t. In winter, living spaces may have a cold, clammy feeling that requires running the furnace excessively.

Allergy symptoms may increase when relative humidity exceeds 50 percent. High humidity supports airborne allergens like mold spores and dust mites, but they cannot thrive when levels drop below 50 percent.

Stains and water spots on walls and ceilings and dripping or streaking condensation on windows is a good indicators of excessive humidity. Visible mildew and mold growth often result, as well.

Peeling wallpaper and paint and, in cases of persistent high humidity, interior wood rot may also occur.

Pipe Works Services is a customer-focused source of air conditioning, heating, and plumbing services for homeowners in Morris, Union, Somerset, and Essex counties. Call us for more information on reducing humidity in a whole-house way. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chatham, NJ, and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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