In our region, high humidity in the home can be a problem. In summer when the air is warm, it will hold more moisture and make us feel warmer than we need to. That means turning the air conditioner down just to feel comfortable. Any time of the year, high humidity can encourage the growth of mold, mildew and fungus, which can destroy paper, drywall, paint and other materials — plus, it’s unhealthful to breathe these pollutants.
The best way to control humidity is to install a whole-house dehumidifier. Under most circumstances, your A/C performs that function adequately, but if you have an excessively moist home, it can be overwhelmed.
Learn how to reduce humid conditions with the following tips and maybe you’ll see results that will help you until you can plan for a dehumidifier.
Tips for Reducing Too-Humid Conditions
Sequester plants. Having lots of plants in the home is a lovely way to decorate and to improve air quality, but plants also raise moisture levels. Round them up and move them to one room.
Keep your air filter clean. A dirty air filter won’t do as good a job allowing proper air flow into your HVAC system. Slower air flow can mean the system won’t dehumidify the air as effectively. Change the air filter frequently.
Take shorter showers. If you live with several people, long and frequent showering can up moisture in the air significantly. Ask people to take shorter showers. Crack the window and run a fan so the humidity can escape.
Install kitchen or bathroom ventilation. Ventilation exhaust fans are not expensive to purchase or install, and they do a a great job of removing moisture from bathrooms and around the kitchen range.
Fix leaks asap. As soon as you realize a faucet, a pipe, the attic or ceiling is leaking water, fix the leak so you prevent flooding and lower moisture levels. Also be vigilant about the HVAC’s condensate drain; a plugged drain can also boost air moisture.
A variable-speed furnace offers quiet, energy efficient comfort using advanced motor technology. Instead of only running on top speed, a furnace equipped with an electronically-commutated motor (ECM) will adjust its running speeds based on your home’s need for heat. They save energy because ECMs use much less electricity than the standard motor, and its slower running speed helps distribute the heat more evenly.
What a Variable-Speed Furnace Does
Conventional blower motors, known as permanent split capacitor motors (PSCs) use alternating current (AC) while an ECM uses direct current (DC). Since our power supply is AC, the variable-speed furnace motor has an inverter that changes the power flow to DC, which is a more efficient use of electricity.
These motors also include high tech components that work with the HVAC system to sense how much heated air your home needs, and adjust their running speeds accordingly. If it’s just a few degrees, the motor will run at a slower speed. The ECM is also capable of sensing the airflow through the blower, making adjustments for constricted airflow from dirt filters or blocked return registers.
Cleaner air. Since a variable-speed furnace runs more slowly, it removes more airborne particulates, which creates a healthier home. Anyone who suffers from allergies to pollen, dander or mold may breathe easier.
Less electrical consumption. Although combustion furnace efficiency isn’t measured by its electrical use alone, your monthly energy bills will drop. If the furnace is equipped with an air conditioning system, your summer cooling costs will also decline. These systems also remove more humidity in the cooling mode since the air handler runs longer.
Quiet operation. These systems start and stop their cycles slowly. Even at top speeds, these motors are quieter than PSC motors.
Durability. HVAC systems with variable-speed motors tend to last longer since they avoid the stress and wear that frequent starts cause.
To learn more about a variable-speed furnace, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Portland-area homeowners since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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