Don’t Forget Humidity Control
As we approach the mid-point of summer, it’s a perfect time to discuss comfort clichés. At Carrier, we’ve heard them all. And when it comes to keeping cool during the sweltering, sticky days of summer, two stand above the rest:
- “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
- “…but it’s a DRY heat.”
The truth of the matter is, high humidity does make you feel hotter and less comfortable. Here’s why:
- Your body cools itself by releasing water and salt through open pores – by sweating.
- The amount of sweat evaporated to the air (which is what cools you) is affected by the amount of moisture already in the air.
- The more humidity in the air, the less sweat evaporates, and the hotter and less comfortable you feel.
So, what does this mean for contractors and how can they make sure that they leave nothing on the proverbial kitchen table when it comes to their customers’ humidity control needs? The good news is that there are a number of solutions that can help control the humidity in a home and it’s important to take these into consideration when discussing new equipment benefits with your customers.
First of all, there could be a number of reasons why a home is too humid with existing equipment:
- The AC system is OVERsized: it will quickly cool the home then shut off, not allowing it enough “cycle time” to dehumidify properly.
- The AC system is UNDERsized: it will run and run and run, never able to keep up with cooling or humidity control on a hot, humid day.
- The AC system is not properly charged/leaking: if the AC system is low on refrigerant either due to a leak or improper charging/installation, it won’t be able to keep up with cooling or humidity control.
- System or airflow too high: if the airflow is too high going through the indoor unit, the air is not in contact with the cold indoor coil long enough to remove moisture from the air.
Addressing these surefire causes of an overly-humid home can bring customers the comfort they’re seeking. However, contractors can also offer a number of upgrades to their customers who are looking to take home comfort to the next level.
A very simple solution is upgrading from a single-stage AC unit to a two-stage AC unit. When using low stage cooling, a two-stage system will have longer runtimes, allowing more time for dehumidification versus a single-stage unit. In addition, when coupled with an appropriate furnace, such as one from the Carrier Performance™ Series, a homeowner can get even more dehumidification by reducing airflow through the system. For instance, the Performance Series furnace will reduce the airflow by 10% when there is an active dehumidification call, which allows additional moisture to collect on and drip off the indoor coil, thus helping to reduce humidity.
For even better results, a variable-speed air conditioner can take humidity control to the next level. For instance, the Carrier Infinity® 26 air conditioner offers excellent humidity control and is capable of removing up to 400% more moisture than standard systems.1 In addition, variable-speed equipment can be highly effective in controlling humidity when pairing an Infinity outdoor unit with an Infinity furnace that features our Ideal Humidity System™. This advanced system senses moisture levels inside the home, then uses algorithms to adjust fan speeds and compressor operation to remove humidity without changing the indoor temperature.
In addition, contractors should always be thinking about offering indoor air quality (IAQ) products, but especially during this time of year as there are many that are specifically designed to reduce humidity. Of course, whole-home dehumidifiers are an obvious solution, and it’s important to remember them at the kitchen table. Another solution that can benefit customers with humidity issues is an energy recovery ventilator, or ERV. ERVs are designed to minimize energy loss while bringing fresh air into the home and exiting stale air year round. An ERV has a special core that reduces the humidity of the fresh air that enters the home by transferring water vapor to the less humid exhaust air. ERVs use the outgoing air’s thermal energy to pre-condition the air coming in, so homeowners can enjoy fresh air without overworking their system. Energy recovery ventilators are best used in climates with hot and humid summers.
The dog days of summer can bring excess humidity to homeowners in many regions across the country. It’s important to keep in mind that there are a number of solutions that can help alleviate humidity issues, whether it involves a new multi-stage air conditioner, or an IAQ product that can enhance the pre-existing system. Remember to present all product benefits to customers to help them address their humidity concerns.
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