Outdoor temperatures can fluctuate wildly as one season turns into the next. Just when you find the perfect indoor temperature in summer, you have to adjust your thermostat and find your ideal conditions for fall. If the relative humidity level inside your home is always too low, it’s even more difficult to get comfortable.
It’s tricky to find both the perfect humidity level and the ideal temperature inside your home. If you struggle with dry air inside your home, you may wonder, “Can I use my AC and humidifier together?” This post will discuss how air conditioners and humidifiers work and whether or not you should use them simultaneously.
Georgia Air Cooling & Heating provides reliable AC replacement & installation in Richmond Hill, Georgia, to help improve your indoor air quality and keep you comfortable as temperatures climb.
Your Home’s Air Conditioner
When your air conditioner works as it should, it creates a comfortable temperature by removing heat from the air and depositing cool air back into your home. During the cooling cycle, your air conditioner also removes humidity from the air, which can help your home feel more comfortable.
The cool air feels nice, but you may soon notice you start to cough and rub your eyes. That’s because your air conditioner can remove more humidity than it should as it cools your home, which is probably why you want to run your humidifier at the same time.
A low relative humidity level can reduce the chance of mold growth in your home, which can cause serious health problems. However, if the humidity level falls too low, you will notice dry, itchy skin and other annoying symptoms. It can also affect the structure of your home because low humidity can cause wooden components to crack.
How a Humidifier Works To Improve Air Quality
Many people suffer from breathing air that’s too dry. It can cause dehydration, make your cough worse, and make your skin feel dry and chapped. A humidifier can increase the relative humidity within your home and soothe those symptoms that make you feel uncomfortable.
Humidifiers have a water compartment that the machine uses to raise the humidity level inside your home. There are portable and whole-home humidifiers that can help improve your indoor air quality. In dry areas or in winter months, increasing the humidity inside your home can increase your comfort level and reduce respiratory problems.
Types of Humidifiers
Just like any other appliance, there are several types to choose from. Some increase the humidity level in just one room, and others provide a consistent humidity level throughout your entire house. A qualified HVAC technician can help you decide which type is the best to suit your needs.
Let’s go over the different types of humidifiers so you can start to figure out which one you need the most.
A portable humidifier easily moves from one room to another. It works well for increasing the humidity in one room of your home, but it can’t provide a consistent humidity level throughout your entire property. A portable humidifier is ideal if one person, like a child or someone with an illness, needs to breathe humid air.
As the name suggests, a whole-home humidifier works with your HVAC unit to create a consistent humidity level in every area of your home. It can detect low humidity and turn on as needed to prevent unnecessary electricity use. If your current HVAC unit doesn’t have a humidifier, a professional HVAC technician can walk you through the available options.
An ultrasonic humidifier uses a high vibration frequency to break down water droplets into vapor. It then emits the vapor, increasing the relative humidity inside your home. They are inexpensive compared to other types of humidifiers and operate silently despite using vibrations to work.
Those with health problems should beware: an ultrasonic humidifier doesn’t just send vaporized water into the air, but could also send excess minerals and even bacteria into the air if they are present in the water supply.
You’re probably already familiar with the impeller humidifier, even if you don’t know the name. They’re the most common type of portable humidifier. They use a rotating disc to create tiny water droplets that enter the air.
Impeller humidifiers produce a cool mist that is safe for homes with pets and small children.
A steam humidifier will cost more, but it works to increase humidity better than any other type of humidifier. You can choose a portable steam humidifier or a whole-home unit. A whole-home steam humidifier attaches to your HVAC system and uses heated water to create humid air. They don’t require you to use your furnace, so you can use a steam humidifier all year long.
Not everyone benefits from using a steam humidifier. Those with asthma may benefit more from another type of humidifier.
Cool Mist Humidifier
Cool mist humidifiers can benefit people with acute illnesses like bronchitis. It’s safe to use a cool mist humidifier in winter, and since it doesn’t create heat, there is no chance of getting burned if you get too close. Cool moisture can help if you’ve had a recent illness and can’t shake the nagging cough as you try to sleep.
Using an Air Conditioner and a Humidifier Simultaneously
It’s possible to use your air conditioner and humidifier at the same time if you need to. Your air conditioner may remove too much humidity from the air. A low humidity level can make your skin dry and leave you with chapped lips and irritated eyes.
Low humidity can also cause window frames and other wooden areas to contract, which could make them crack and require professional repair. Your home and your body need a certain amount of moisture to stay in good shape.
That said, if you live in an area that experiences high summer temperatures, you may not need a humidifier. High humidity levels in summer months provide more than enough humidity to keep you comfortable and reduce home damage, even as your air conditioner removes humidity from the air.
The air is fairly dry in winter months, and running your heater will only make the air feel drier. You may find that you need a humidifier more in winter than in summer.
The Optimal Humidity Level
When you wonder, “Can I use my AC and humidifier together?” consider the ideal humidity level for your home. The ideal humidity level is between 35% and 55%, no matter whether it’s summer or winter.
A hygrometer is an inexpensive tool that helps you easily monitor the humidity level to avoid itchy skin if it drops too low or mold growth if the level climbs too high. All you have to do is place it in the room you want to monitor and check it a few times a day like a thermometer.
If you don’t have a hygrometer, you can gauge the humidity level in your home by how you feel. If the air feels damp, especially first thing in the morning, the humidity level is probably high. If you feel dehydrated and your skin is dry, the humidity level is probably too low.
Why You Shouldn’t Run Your Air Conditioner and Humidifier Together
Using your air conditioner and humidifier at the same time could reduce the energy efficiency of both appliances. As your air conditioner works to remove humidity from the air, your humidifier works to add more, and they could both end up overburdened as they compete with each other.
Using both your air conditioner and humidifier all day long can make your electric bills skyrocket. When your air conditioner detects excess humidity, it will work even harder, making it run longer than it should to cool your home.
Simultaneously, your humidifier detects low humidity and works longer to raise the relative humidity in your home. This overuse will shorten the life of both appliances. The best course of action is to only run one appliance at a time unless you absolutely need both. Taking care to only use one at a time will help lower your monthly energy bills.
Boost Your Home Comfort With Air Conditioning Service in Georgia
A well-maintained air conditioning system will work efficiently to improve your indoor air quality and maintain a comfortable humidity level. Choosing a humidifier that suits your needs will help prevent dry skin and can also help the wooden parts of your home stay in good condition longer.
To answer the question, “Can I use my AC and humidifier together?” you need to first measure the humidity level to see if you actually need to. You can run them both together, but you may end up damaging both appliances and causing your energy bills to increase. Georgia Air Cooling & Heating can help when you want to know if your air conditioner reduces humidity levels or if you have any other questions about improving your home comfort. You can book online today or call 912-513-3741 to talk to a member of our team.