Relative indoor humidity levels have a direct relationship with indoor temperatures, which can impact how heating systems operate — and therefore affect indoor comfort — during the winter season. In this blog, heating and air conditioning company Acker Heating & Cooling takes a look at this relationship.
Relative Indoor Humidity
Let us first take a look at how relative indoor humidity works. Think of your indoor space as a controlled environment and the outdoor space as an uncontrolled environment. We can’t control outdoor humidity levels, but we can adjust to them — we can control indoor humidity levels relative to uncontrollable outdoor conditions. Cold air is a natural dehumidifier, which is why humidity levels drop during the season. Symptoms of dryness, such as itching, chapped lips and dry eyes, are common.
In comparison, the air during the summer season is usually humid. The heat turns moisture into droplets that remain suspended in the air, which absorbs some of the ambient heat. This is why hot and humid seasons tend to feel hotter than what’s indicated on a thermometer. As mentioned above, cold air is a natural dehumidifier, which means running an air conditioner removes both heat and moisture from the air.
How Does Humidity Affect Your Heating System?
The ideal relative indoor humidity levels during the winter season should be between 30% to 50%, which you can check using a hygrometer. Modern thermostats and digital thermometers usually have built-in hygrometers, or you can buy one from virtually anywhere. Dry air doesn’t hold heat well, which means the warm air coming from your heating system may not have as much of an effect as it should. This would either increase your heating system’s running time or prompt you to turn up your thermostat to a few degrees. Either way, it could lead to an increase in your utility bill.
Daily activities like bathing and cooking can help introduce vapor into the air and raise relative indoor humidity to ideal levels. If it’s not enough, you can run a humidifier. Your HVAC system may already have a humidifier built into it. You can also run a standalone humidifier if you are running a heat pump.
Need help with humidity control or other HVAC concerns? Our certified HVAC technicians can help. Call Acker Heating & Cooling at (706) 425-8774 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.