During the hot summer months, the last thing homeowners want is an air conditioner that adds humidity to their houses, especially in Jacksonville. An AC unit that functions properly should not only cool your home but actually decrease humidity levels in the process. Sometimes the humidity problems that arise while the air conditioner is running have nothing to do with the unit at all. Here are some things to think about when tackling the issue.
Dust and Dirt Are Accumulating
Now and then, air filters tend to accumulate dirt and dust. This can cause both indoor and outdoor AC units to malfunction. When the air conditioner’s coils gather dirt and dust, the unit is not able to efficiently draw heat from inside the home, leaving the air humid.
If you suspect that this may be the problem, consider doing some maintenance on your air filtration system. When your AC unit is free from dust and debris, the refrigerant cycle should begin functioning normally again.
The Evaporator Coil Is Frozen
If your AC unit’s evaporator coil is frozen, you will notice a layer of ice forming over it. A frozen evaporator coil is typically caused by either a lack of airflow or a lack of refrigerant flowing through the coil. Since both of these problems require significant maintenance, it is best to call an HVAC professional.
Your AC Unit Is Not the Right Size for Your Home
An air conditioner will be able to cool your house most effectively if it is the right size. If you have a large AC unit that is only cooling a relatively small amount of space, the system will run for short cycles. If your AC does not run for long enough, it will not be able to cool your house evenly or sufficiently pull the moisture from the air. On the other hand, if your AC unit is small but you have a large amount of space to cool, it will work as hard as it can and still fall short of making your residence cool and dry.
As a general rule of thumb, you should multiply the total square footage of your home by 20 to figure out how many BTUs (British thermal units) your AC unit will need to provide. For example, if you live in a 1,500-square-foot house, you will want a cooling system capable of providing about 30,000 BTUs.
The Thermostat Is Not Set Correctly
If your AC unit’s thermostat is set to “AUTO”, the system should cool and dehumidify the air whenever the fan begins to run. If it is set to “ON,” however, the unit’s fan will run continuously, interfering with the cooling and dehumidifying process. Be sure the thermostat is set to “AUTO” and not to “ON.”
There Are Too Many People in the House
When there is a large number of people crowded into a single space, your AC unit will simply not be able to cool and dehumidify your house as effectively. If it is a hot day, consider spending time with guests outdoors until the AC has enough time to sufficiently cool down your home.
Carpeting and Windows
While carpets provide any room with a nice aesthetic, they tend to retain moisture. Although your AC unit should be able to remove moisture from the air, it has a much more difficult time doing so from carpets and other fabrics. If moist carpets are bothersome, consider removing them and replacing them with something more water-resistant like tile flooring.
Additionally, condensation tends to build up quickly on windows. Lining your windows with storm coating or plastic film can aid in reducing and even eliminating moisture buildup while your cooling system is operating.
Your Unit Is Using Too Much Refrigerant
Just as a lack of refrigerant can cause problems within your AC unit, so can too much refrigerant. Too much refrigerant can overcharge the unit, resulting in a lower cooling capacity and eventually causing the compressor to burn out.
A thermal expansion valve might be just what you need in this case. A thermal expansion valve, or TXV, will adjust the amount of refrigerant being used so that the unit is always receiving exactly what it requires. This allows the evaporator coil to remove heat and humidity, regardless of the current temperature or circumstance.
Excess Moisture From Beneath Your House
In climates characterized by significant rainfall, the soil beneath the foundation of homes can hold quite a bit of moisture. This is one of the main reasons that basements tend to be the most humid part of a house — particularly those that are not insulated well and do not have windows.
One of the biggest things that you can do is ensure that your gutters and downspouts are working correctly. If rainwater is not being properly directed away from the house’s foundation, moisture is bound to penetrate the home.
Cooking and Other Activities Naturally Add Moisture
Water vapor from cooking will bring up humidity levels significantly. If your oven has a ventilation fan, make sure that it is running whenever you are boiling water or using the stove. If you do not have a ventilation fan above your stove, purchasing one can make a profound difference.
Other activities like showering can also contribute to excess moisture. Taking cooler showers and making sure that your bathroom’s ventilation fans are working are great ways to combat this nuisance.
Your AC Unit Is Too Old
Even top-quality AC units cannot work well forever. This is particularly true for air conditioners that have not been consistently maintained. While some problems within the system can be fixed fairly easily, others cannot be. If you are trying to decide whether to have your unit repaired or replaced altogether, there are a couple of things to think about.
If your AC unit has been cooling your home for 10 to 15 years, it is probably best to get it replaced. Making proper repairs at this point would likely be more expensive and inconvenient than simply purchasing a new unit.
If you think an AC system of a different size or brand might be a better fit for your house, then buying a new one is probably the optimal thing to do. An air conditioner that is too big, too small, or otherwise lacking in compatibility with your house’s structure will see little to no improvements upon being repaired.
Invest in a Dehumidifier
If you live in a humid climate, sometimes even a perfectly functional AC unit will not be able to keep your home as dry as you would like. A dehumidifier that can support your air conditioner is a worthwhile purchase.
With drier air, your AC unit will cool your house much more quickly and will not need to work as hard. Even having a single humidifier in a room that tends to retain a large amount of humidity can make all the difference.
At Reliable Ducts Heating & Cooling, we are ready to tackle HVAC problems in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding areas. With additional services such as heating, UV lighting, ventilation testing, air quality, and more, our team of experts is committed to providing you with the highest level of comfort year-round. Give us a call today, and let our professionals get to work on your home!