People who live in Olathe, Kansas City, anywhere in the surrounding area, or even in the whole of the Midwest are no strangers to muggy, humid conditions during the summer months. It's not a surprise when we step out the front door and feel that yucky warm humidity wrap around us like a wet blanket. But as unpleasant as it is to deal with humidity outdoors, it's so much worse when you experience humidity inside the house.
Heat plus humidity saps your energy, makes it difficult to get a good night's sleep, and makes you think twice about cooking, running the dishwasher, or really doing anything other than taking a cold shower. While there isn't much that can be done about the humidity outside during the summer months, your Olathe heating and cooling pros do have some tips for managing humidity inside the home.
Here's the thing, though. Before you start managing your humidity, you may need to know a little more about it. After all, humidity is not entirely a bad thing. It's simply a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air around you. Humidity becomes more noticeable during the summer months because warm air holds more moisture, but humidity is there in the winter, too, and can even be a good thing during cold weather to help reduce static electricity and dry, chapped skin.
The optimal humidity level in your home is always going to be a matter of personal taste, but most people prefer an indoor humidity level somewhere between 30% and 45% during the summer months. Anything higher than that, and the air inside your home will start to feel pretty sticky and miserable. Plus, high humidity can cause problems around the house, including wood expansion, mold growth, peeling paint and wallpaper, and bacterial overgrowth that can lead to unpleasant odors.
How do you know what the humidity level in your home is? You can actually buy a hygrometer at most hardware stores or on Amazon. They don't cost too much, and they can quickly and easily measure the temperature and humidity in your house. Once you know your relative humidity level, here are few things you can do to help manage it this summer.
Turn. The humidifier. OFF.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to forget when you're switching your house over from winter to summer. If you have a humidifier attached to the ductwork near your furnace, it probably runs all winter long, but you don't want it running during the muggy summer months. Just shut off the humidifier itself and the water supply.
Get a dehumidifier.
A small dehumidifier can remove 30 to 35 pints of moisture from the air per day. To give you an idea, that's about 4.5 gallons. Imagine moving through 4.5 gallons of water while you're hanging around your house! A medium-sized dehumidifier can remove 50 pints per day. Some of the best brands (per Consumer Reports) are Frigidaire, GE, Haier, Kenmore, and LG. Most of these are portable, single-room dehumidifiers that you can keep in the rooms where you spend the most time. Whole-home dehumidifiers are also available, but they are much more expensive.
Close the windows and doors and use the air conditioner.
The air conditioner helps to keep your house cool on a hot summer day, sure, but it also helps to control humidity. However, the A/C isn't designed to maintain and control the humidity level of your whole house, so relying on it alone can put an undue burden on your system. If you're really struggling with humidity, you can even weather-strip doors and windows just like you would in cold weather. And, of course, if the day outside is particularly nice and the humidity is low, forget all of this and throw open a window or two to let the air in your home circulate!
Don't let water sit around.
When you get right down to it, humidity is just water in the air, so one of the easiest ways to reduce the humidity in your house is to avoid letting extra water get into the air in the first place. That means not leaving water lying around. If you wash the dishes, brush your teeth, take a shower, whatever, dry off surfaces when you're done. That'll help keep excess moisture out of the air.
Circulate the air inside the house.
If it's a nice day outside, open the windows. If not, use ceiling fans to help with air circulation. Let bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans run to help get rid of steam and other moisture in the air.
Don't overuse home appliances.
When you wash dishes or clothes, the hot water produces humidity. When you dry clothes, the moisture in the clothes is pulled out and, well, into the air. Running the washer and dryer more than you need to puts more moisture into the air. When you can, air dry clothes or make sure that your dryer is vented outdoors. Try running the dishwasher at night, when the air is cooler and humidity is typically lower.
Change your shower (or bath) routine.
Try taking shorter (and cooler) showers during the summer months to avoid pumping a lot of steam into the air. Also, if you've got an en suite shower, maybe use the guest shower down the hall if you're showering at night. This way, you won't have a bunch of moisture in the master bedroom just before you go to sleep.
Hey, you wanted to do more grilling this summer anyway, right? Use your outdoor grill or BBQ pit to cook everything you can. It'll help keep the temperature and the humidity in your home lower and maybe even give you an excuse to upgrade that old grill, know what we're saying?
Move the houseplants outdoors.
Unless you have a lot of succulents and cacti, Boston ferns, English Ivy, or plants from the Yucca family, most houseplants actually release moisture into the air. This can be great most of the year, but when you're combatting humidity in the summertime, every little bit helps. If you have a lot of greenery inside, try moving some of it out during the summer months to see if it can reduce the moisture in the air a bit.
Get your air conditioning system serviced!
Whatever you do to combat heat and humidity this summer, you want to make sure that your air conditioner is up to the challenge! There are a few things you can do yourself, such as changing the air conditioner and furnace air filters regularly. If you need to call in a professional, Davenport Service Company optimizes your air conditioning system with every summertime A/C service call. Want to help extend the life of your air conditioner and keep it running all summer long? Be sure to ask about our VIP Program for preventive maintenance and regular 25-point tune-ups!
Davenport Service Company is your Olathe heating and cooling partner! Call us today at 913-441-2222!