Friday, October 5, 2012

It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidity

My wife declares that she is burning up!

She is fanning herself with a magazine and obviously uncomfortable. However, the thermostat on the wall tells me that the temperature is the same as always for this time of the evening. The T-stat is programmable and the settings haven't been changed. How can she possibly be so hot?

To console her I drop the temperature two degrees, only to be shaking my head 20 minutes later when I see she has covered herself with a small blanket. My initial assumption is that her personal thermostat is broken.

There are some additional details that you need to know. It's early October here in Florida and the outdoor temperature is cooler than the peak of summer. Additionally, rain this afternoon cooled off the roof and inside the temperature is within our comfort range, without the use of air-conditioning. Here's what happened:
  1. The AC system has not been running because of the pleasant temperature this time of year.
  2. Humidity inside has slowly increased as a result of cooking, showers, laundry and even our breathing.
  3. Increased humidity in the air prevents moisture on our skin from evaporating.
  4. Comfort comes from a combination of temperature, humidity and air movement.
Camie was uncomfortable because the increased humidity prevented evaporation from her skin. When I turned on the AC, in addition to dropping the temperature two degrees it also removed the excess humidity in the room and created a draft. Admittedly, her personal T-stat is a bit more sensitive than mine, but she had just experienced a drastic change in all three of the components that affect comfort.

The Southern Home may need additional dehumidification during times of the year that pleasant temperatures prevent your AC system from operating. I wrote another article recently on the subject titled, All Southern Homes Need Dehumidification. Since running the AC is costly, a separate dehumidifier is worth considering to increase comfort during periods of Spring and Fall when temperatures are pleasant.

No comments:

Post a Comment