Plan Your Project to Fix Your Humid Home
For humid and sticky homes, homeowners minimize any gaps, cracks or holes. These air leaks allow warm, humid air into your home. The following outline helps homeowners address hot, humid homes.
Seal Air Leaks
As a first step, homeowners seal as many connections, gaps, holes and cracks between the air in your home and the outside air. Otherwise, the cool, conditioned air in our homes escapes through these holes. This cool, conditioned air, lost to the outside, becomes replaced by an equal amount of hot, humid outside air as the home equalizes pressure. Losing the cool, conditioned air costs you money and the replacement hot, humid air makes the home uncomfortable. SEAL UP YOUR HOME!
Eliminate Moisture with Exhaust Fans
Remove moisture from your home at its source by using exhaust fans during showers and, if possible, when cooking. Additionally, verify your exhaust fans connect to an exhaust vent (or hose) that terminates outside of your home. Exhaust ducts that terminate in the attic lead to moisture damage, mildew and eventually mold growth. USE EXHAUST FANS TO ELIMINATE MOISTURE!
Many homes contain excessive air leakage around windows and window A/C units. This gap almost always offers a source for warm, humid air that enters or exits the home in the summertime. SEAL AROUND WINDOWS!
Seal Air Ducts
Additionally, seal leaky ducts. This minimizes air leaks, especially when the ducts leak outside of the conditioned space. Since ductwork is pressurized (and depressurized) by the central air conditioner or heat pump fan, duct leaks are exaggerated and can significantly impact poor comfort conditions in the home.
Most importantly, however, leaks in return ductwork located in attics or crawl spaces can draw large amounts of very humid air into your return duct system and then into your home. Return duct leaks are harder to locate because air is drawn into the duct and not forced out (like a leaky supply duct). SEAL THE DUCTS TIGHT!
Install Properly Sized HVAC Systems
New residential central air conditioners are much more efficient today than they were just 5 or 10 years ago. Central air conditioners and heat pumps are rated for cooling efficiency in terms of SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. A central air conditioner that operates at 15 SEER removes 15 BTU’s for each watt of electricity consumed vs a 10 SEER central air conditioner that removes 10 BTU’s for each watt of electricity consumed.
To minimize hot, humid conditions in homes, GreenHomes recommends central cooling systems maintain a 15 SEER efficiency rating or higher. In addition to high-efficiency systems, central air conditioning systems sized much too large for the home can cool the house very quickly without adequately dehumidifying the air. The result is a home that is cool but humid.
It is very important to properly size central air conditioning systems so your home is cooled and the humidity is removed from the home in hot, humid summertime conditions. INSTALL PROPERLY SIZED, EFFICIENT AIR CONDITIONING!
Lastly, and only when necessary, high-efficiency dehumidification systems work. Dehumidifiers add heat to the space and can be expensive to run continuously. However, if all other efficiency measures have been completed (such as air sealing the home and right-sizing your air conditioning system) and the humidity levels are still high in your home, dehumidification may be necessary. To minimize the cost of dehumidification, make sure your dehumidifier is ENERGY Star Labeled. DEHUMIDIFY WHEN NECESSARY!
Improving the comfort of homes during the summer remains challenging. To help the homeowner determine the best solution for their home, GreenHomes recommends a quality energy audit. When done properly, an energy audit pinpoints the true sources of comfort problems and energy waste in your home. Yes, energy audits identify excessive air leaks or insufficient insulation levels. The energy audit offers a roadmap or plan for creating a more comfortable, energy efficient home.
Energy Audits Help Homeowners:
- prioritize energy efficient projects.
- understand what an energy audit includes.
- determine the appropriate cost of an energy audit.
- the pros and cons of a free energy audit.
- questions homeowners should ask an energy auditor before hiring them.
- how to find a qualified energy auditor.
- the role as homeowner during an energy audit.
- the information homeowners should learn from an energy audit.
Remember, a high-quality Home Energy Audit provides a critical step for determining your project for creating a more comfortable home. However, the energy audit by itself doesn’t improve the conditions of the home at all. Only when actually install the prioritized recommendations will you lower your heating cooling costs and feel more comfortable in your home.