The combination of humidity and heat is one well-known to Rochester residents in the summer. Humidity makes it even harder to get cool on hot summer days, making the air feel clammy and the heat even more intense. But what you might not know is that humidity not only makes your body’s cooling system less effective, it also decreases the capability of your air conditioning system. With the extra pressure humidity puts on your AC system, it’s especially important to schedule an AC inspection and take care of any repairs before the humidity hits.
Humidity’s Impact on AC
One of your air conditioning system’s primary functions is to remove excess humidity from the air, making you feel cooler. When there’s high humidity, your AC system has to work much harder to achieve that goal. If your air conditioning system is old or needs key maintenance, it might not hold up under extreme humidity, leaving you stuck in the clammy heat.
Taking the time to schedule an AC inspection ahead of the humidity rising is key to keeping it functioning smoothly even on humid days, and ensuring your AC is running before high humidity infiltrates your house will keep your AC from having to work overtime.
Taking the time in the winter or spring to have your air conditioning system inspected can make the difference between having an enjoyable cool home and getting stuck in the heat and humidity when it’s already too late. A professional AC inspection will involve routine maintenance steps and help determine if there are any more significant issues with your system that need repair. Some of the primary AC maintenance steps include:
- Changing or cleaning the filter. The filter in your AC system helps keep it free of dust, dirt and other debris, maintaining efficiency and function. A clogged filter restricts airflow through the system, potentially causing the evaporator coil to freeze up and halt your cooling system.
- Cleaning the condenser coils. Buildup on the outdoor condenser can lead to problems with your cooling system. While you can remove some of the debris around the unit yourself, you should call a professional to conduct an in-depth cleaning within the unit.
- Checking coolant lines. An HVAC technician will examine whether there are any leaks in your coolant lines and whether any insulation along the lines is damaged, performing repairs as needed.
- Testing your cooling system. Beyond inspecting all of the pieces of the system, the HVAC technician will test your whole system to ensure it’s running smoothly. That way you know you’ll have a way to cool down as soon as summer hits.
It’s much easier to schedule AC inspections, maintenance and repairs in the fall, winter or early spring when there’s less demand on HVAC technicians’ time. Additionally, ensuring your system is good to go early on is key to helping you get the AC on and running before humidity hits, meaning your system will have to do less work getting the moisture out of your house.
How to Cut Down on Humidity
In addition to ensuring your AC has been inspected and is running smoothly, you can take steps yourself to cut down on humidity in your home and take the burden off of your AC system.
- Start your AC before the humidity rises. In addition to performing an AC inspection before humidity rises, it is also beneficial to turn on your system before the true heat and humidity of summer hit. While it can be tempting to wait until the first truly sticky day to flip the switch, that means your AC system will be working overtime to get the moisture out of the air in your home. If you’ve already closed up the windows and turned on the AC, the humidity won’t have a chance to truly penetrate your home.
- Keep the doors and windows closed. Sealing off outside air is key to keeping humidity out of your home. If the doors and windows are open, your AC will be working too hard trying to cool the entire neighborhood. And even if you turn your AC off during the day while you’re gone, you should keep your house closed up to keep as much humidity out as possible.
- Update insulation and air sealing. Conducting a home energy audit is a great way to find where cool air is escaping or where humid air is sneaking in. Upgrading your insulation or adding air sealing in attics, around doors and windows or in other spaces can go a long way toward keeping cool air in and shutting humidity out.