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Could Your Indoor Air Quality Hurt AC Efficiency?

ventYes. There are certain ways your indoor air quality can actually hurt the efficiency of your air conditioner.

Take humidity, for instance: this is excess moisture that comes with the high summer temperatures we’re faced with each summer, and sometimes even beyond. This moisture is uncomfortable, and the only way to allow it to dissipate is by lowering the temperature. You may do this, and might even have your thermostat on its lowest possible setting. But this is going to end up being terrible for your cooling system!

First off, your cooling system can’t adequately remove all the excess humidity—that’s the job of a whole-house dehumidifier. Secondly, your air conditioner is only going to run longer the lower you set the temperature, which means it’s working overtime and inefficiently.

Understanding Humidity

Excess humidity is the leading cause of AC inefficiency when it comes to your indoor air quality. Your home’s relative humidity levels are too great when they’re above 50%. It’s also worth noting that anything below 30% is too low, but that’s a blog post for another time.

Relative humidity levels above 50% is when most people notice they’re uncomfortable. After all, we stay cool by sweating and having that sweat evaporate off our skin, but if it’s that moist in your home, the sweat cannot evaporate.

Plus, high humidity encourages the development of mold and bacteria, which can make even the healthiest member of your household ill.

What This Means for Your Cooling System

As mentioned above, the best way to lower humidity levels is to lower the temperature. This causes moisture to coalesce into droplets, which then evaporates much like you see the morning dew evaporate outdoors. This means your air conditioner is serving as a dehumidifier, but that’s the problem—your air conditioner wasn’t designed to be a dehumidifier.

Yes, air conditioners remove some of the moisture from the air just by their nature. However, it’s not a big amount, and you don’t have control over how much moisture is taken out of your air (it’s probably not enough).

Excessive moisture in your indoor air causes your cooling system to run longer and essentially work harder than it should have to in order to do its job. This is because since the air feels even hotter when humidity is too high, you probably set the thermostat lower and lower, which impacts your air conditioner and subsequently your cooling bills.

Other Ways Indoor Air Quality Affects AC Efficiency

Allergens play a role in AC efficiency too! This may not seem to be the case, but think about it. Your HVAC system has an air filter—this air filter is in place to protect the HVAC system itself from dust, dirt, and other debris that could get in and hurt its components. Depending on the level of allergens in your home, this air filter can quickly get clogged, which will create a whole host of issues if you don’t change it out quickly enough.

Changing this air filter is essential and something you should be doing every 1–3 months. In addition to this, you may consider installing a whole-home air filtration system or air purifier for comprehensive indoor air quality improvement and better AC efficiency as well.

Cool Sunshine Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. has served the Metro Denver area since 1997. We are one big happy family, and we’d like you to become a part of it! Contact us today for custom HVAC services in Highlands Ranch, CO and beyond.

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