It's not the Heat, it's the Humidity!
Updated: Feb 19, 2020
Ventilation and Dehumidification are critical talking points, especially here in Florida. Until recently they were discussed little, but the way we build homes is changing and they are now important issues.
A well-insulated home will maintain its temperature during moderate times of the year. As a result, the air-conditioning system will not operate very much. Typical thermostats only measure air temperature, but humidity, air movement and air quality all affect our comfort. Cooking, showers, and even breathing raise the humidity level in the home.
When the humidity level is too high, moisture ceases to evaporate from our skin making us feel clammy and sticky. Even light breezes lose their refreshing feel. High humidity levels support the growth of mold and mildew, and allow the air we breath to carry more impurities not present at lower levels.
Here in Florida during the spring and fall, without the use of air-conditioning, humidity levels will rise in the home causing uncomfortable and potentially even unhealthy conditions. Efficient dehumidification without the added expense of operating the AC or heating system, is the answer to lowering humidity levels and increasing comfort. We have several interesting articles available for view in our Building Science collection if you want to learn more.
To summarize: more insulation + tighter construction = less AC & more humidity. In an upcoming article I’ll discuss ventilation and its role in the southern home.
I’m a big believer in dehumidification but not a big supporter of ASHRAE and EnergyStar ventilation requirements. If the sources of indoor pollutants are removed and some exterior doors and windows are opened occasionally, a basic ventilation plan can be adopted...