We know what you’re thinking when you see this headline: “Of all the possible problems with indoor air quality in Tampa, FL, is dry air something to worry about? Florida is almost legendary for having high humidity!”
However, our climate is often humid. That doesn’t mean the air inside a house will also be humid. Many factors are at play in indoor air quality, and homes in Florida can often experience dry conditions. Why? Air conditioning systems!
The Air Conditioning Conundrum
During the summer, ACs in Florida run continually. You might give yours a break during the night, but the sound of an air conditioner humming away is part of the soundtrack of the season. ACs aren’t dehumidifiers unless specifically designed with dehumidification options. However, they remove some moisture from the air as they run. During the summer, this won’t make much difference, which is why we often recommend customers have a whole-house dehumidifier installed as well.
During fall and winter, the humidity levels will begin to drop. But ACs continue to work through the season—and this is where the removal of moisture from the air can have a negative effect. ACs still do plenty of work in fall and winter in Florida, and this can mean relative humidity levels indoors below 30%, which is considered too dry.
Why Dry Air Is a Problem
“A dry heat” indicates relief on a hot day. Low moisture levels in the air allow heat to escape from the body easier, and that makes a hot day feel a bit cooler. But dry conditions on cooler days are less pleasant: if it’s a comfortable 68°F day, dry conditions will make it feel 8°F cooler. That might mean turning on the heater when it could otherwise stay off.
But dry air does more than force up heating bills. Dry air isn’t healthy. Moisture leaving the body creates dry, flaky skin and irritates the eyes, nose, and lips. It can make breathing more difficult for people with respiratory problems. Worst of all, it dries up mucus and sinus membranes, which are vital defenses against the spread of illness. Colds and flu viruses within a house can move about faster and infect more people when the air is dry.
There are also environmental conditions that worsen in dry conditions. Moisture leaves surfaces as well, which can cause wood and paint to crack. If you’ve ever wondered why museums with valuable pieces are so intent on moisture control, this is one of the reasons: dry air can severely damage precious items!
Finally, there’s the static electricity problem. Static shocks will plague a house when the air is too dry. This is annoying—but it can also cause damage to electronic equipment.
If you have trouble with dry air in your home, get in touch with us. We can install a whole-house humidifier that works with the HVAC system to create balanced (45%) relative humidity without making the air too humid. We have other methods to help you enjoy great indoor air quality this winter and every season.
“Serving Our Tampa Bay Family With Integrity and Honor.” Call The A/C Guy of Tampa Bay Inc. for help with household humidity trouble.