I get plenty of questions about air conditioning systems and how they work. That’s why I have a blog! I could’ve just penned a short FAQ and then gone into retirement on my favorite couch. But I’m a hard-working blogger dog! I see great examples of hard work every day here at Russell & Abbott, and I want to do my part. I take the time to go in-depth on the questions people ask most often. And the question I’m tackling today is: “Does my AC also help dehumidify the house?”
I can answer this by dividing the question into two. “Does my AC lower humidity in my house?” The answer is yes. “Does my AC control humidity enough to make a difference to my comfort?” The answer is no.
Greetings everyone! I get plenty busy during fall because this is the season when I look down my long list of topics to help our customers prepare for the winter. Dogs have “winter prep” pretty easy, because we come equipped with a nice fur coat. People have a touch more work to do, such as having their furnaces professionally tuned-up and taking care of spots where their homes can lose heat easily.
In all this hustle before winter weather, people (and this includes you, dear reader) may forget one simple task for their HVAC system—changing the air filter for a new one. I talk about changing the air filter plenty of times on my blog. Usually I focus on how routine air filter changes help the HVAC system perform at higher energy efficiency and provide better levels of heating and cooling. Today, I’m turning to a side-effect of a clogged filter people may not realize: it can make a home’s indoor air quality worse!
You may have heard that we dogs don’t sweat like you humans do. I can tell you, it’s true! We still need to release heat from our bodies when it’s hot, but we go about it a different way. Instead of sweating all through our skin, we sweat through our noses and our paw pads. But mostly, we get rid of all the extra heat in our body by panting. And getting rid of heat is the whole point of sweating!
And this brings me to my important topic today: humidity. We get plenty of that here in East Tennessee during the summer, and it makes the hot weather feel even hotter. This is because it’s harder to release heat through sweat when there’s already too much moisture in the air.
But did you know that humidity can cause other problems than just making the weather muggier? When indoor relative humidity climbs above 60%, you can face trouble like this:
A good HVAC dog is also a dog who’s up on her science facts. Science is behind everything when it comes to heating and cooling a home. When I explain about how our expert team picks the right size of AC for your home, there’s some serious science behind it. When I talk you about the best temperatures to set your thermostat so you can save money, it backed up by the science of heat loss and heat gain.
Today I’m going to get into some serious science, because I’m putting the science upfront. I’m going to explain one of those mysteries of climate: why does humidity make a hot day feel hotter?
It’s spring time! We have officially moved from the winter to the spring. The temperatures may not reflect it all the time, but we’re on the upward slope toward warmer weather.
And we’re also in allergy season. Sorry, but there is a downside to spring arriving! As plants start to bloom with the warmer temperatures, the pollen count in the air rises—and this is bad news for people who suffer from allergies. And with the unseasonably warm temperatures we’ve experienced recently, a lot of blossoms are already putting pollen into the East Tennessee air.
I know quite a bit about allergies because there are people who are allergic to me. Spring allergies are a bit different than dog-dander allergies, but the effect on people is similar: wheezing, congestion, eye and nose irritation, headaches, and generally feeling “icky” (a medical term I looked up). And making it worse is that we live in the allergy capital of the South! That’s not something you’ll find on the town website, but it’s true.
Some things belong in airtight containers, like coffee and a half-finished can of dog food. (I can taste the difference, believe me!) But most things need to have a bit of breathing room—and that includes your home.
If you’re starting to say, “But my home isn’t airtight! There’s doors and windows…”, don’t worry. I don’t mean airtight like your home is sealed up in a gigantic Ziploc bag. But you may be surprised to find out that the level of insulation on your home designed to make it as energy efficient as possible can also lead to poor indoor air quality, particularly in winter.
I’m not sure if you know this about me and my species, but we don’t sweat the same way you humans do. In fact, dogs in general have a different relationship to humidity, and much of it has to do with our fur and our smaller number of sweat glands.
But make no mistake, even though I’m a dog, I am well studied up on how the human body works when it comes to comfort. It’s my job, after all! This is why I’d like to talk to you about dry air and using a whole-house humidifier.
When it comes to staying cool during the heat, we dogs handle things a bit differently than you humans do. Your bodies release heat through perspiration along the pores of your skin, which helps make your body cooler. Dogs are only able to sweat through our paws, which isn’t enough to really cool us down—especially since we have fur coats. To help make up the difference, we pant. Panting lets us circulate air through our bodies, and this helps keep us cool. Something else that helps keep our bodies cooled down is drinking water, so make sure during hot temperatures that you always have ample water available for your dog! Otherwise, your dog will go find a large body of water and just leap into it! And then shake itself out in the middle of the living room.
Here’s something that I don’t often admit: it’s difficult for me to see things on a computer screen. Dog-vision simply doesn’t that well to any sort of TV or monitor. So I’m an old-fashioned “black ink on white paper” sort of girl, and it’s easy to curl up on the couch with a newspaper under my head and read all the local goings-on between naps.
Hi, Olive the Comfort Dog here. While professional maintenance is necessary, there’s one key thing you can do to help keep your HVAC system operating efficiently.
Replace your HVAC air filters per your manufacturer’s instructions and upon advice from your HVAC service provider. Once is month is not one-size-fits-all. Some filters need to replaced less frequently; others need to be replaced more often. Factors, such as having furry family members such as myself inside the house may mean that your filters should be changed more frequently. Individual differences in lifestyle will impact the kind of filter that you use. Some kinds of filters do their job so well that you won’t have to dust your home as often, a chore my humans sometimes complain about. Others are very effective at eliminating odors. If you are unsure what kind of filter to buy, just ask MK Russell & Abbott about the different options, or visit MK Russell & Abbott on YouTube to see a video about air filters. We’ll also show you how to change the filter when we come out for Comfort Club maintenance!
For those who want to “bone up” on why air filters make a difference, here’s the deal: a clogged air filter prevents airflow, causing pressure drops in the HVAC system, and that means that the fan motor has to work harder and that air circulation through your home suffers. In fact, clogged air filters are the most common cause of costly burnt-out HVAC systems.