• The Benefits of Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

    Aside from your home’s heating and air conditioning (AC) system, two “accessories” some homeowners use are humidifiers and dehumidifiers. These optional components provide different benefits to ensure indoor air quality is maintained year round. They help enhance the efficiency of your home heating and cooling system, as well as help keep ducts cleaner so you need less frequent air duct cleaning .

    The objective of both humidifiers and dehumidifiers is to regulate and control the amount of relative humidity in the air inside the home. Ideally, you want to have indoor air humidity levels between 35% and 50% relative humidity. In the wintertime, you will want the humidity levels to be closer to 50%, while in the warmer months you want to keep the percentage of humidity in the high 30s to low 40s.

    Let’s take a look at what humidifiers and dehumidifiers are, the benefits they provide, and why you need one for your Tampa Bay Area home.

    Air Conditioning Thermometer

    What Is a Humidifier?

    A humidifier helps add humidity to indoor air. It is perfect for dry air conditions that can cause humidity levels to drop below 35% relative humidity. There are small units that work well in small, individual rooms. You will also find larger units that help humidify multiple rooms or bigger areas in open floor plans. In addition, there are humidifiers that can be connected directly to your home’s central heating system to humidify the entire home.

    What Are the Benefits of a Humidifier?

    During the colder winter months, the relative humidity in outdoor air drops significantly. This drop also occurs inside your home. As the humidity levels drop, it can cause a variety of problems, from dry skin to colds and flu. Using a humidifier offers these benefits:

    • Helps keep skin soft and moist. If you notice your skin cracking, peeling, or feeling itchy in the winter, you most likely have low humidity levels.
    • Helps keep indoor plants healthy. Even your houseplants can suffer from reduced humidity levels in the winter. While they do get some moisture when you water them, they also draw in water from the surrounding air. If you notice your plants do not seem happy in the wintertime, it could be caused by insufficient humidity in the air.
    • Helps reduce the spread of illnesses. Bacteria and viruses are unable to spread as easily in humid air. This is why people rarely get a cold or flu in the summer.
    • Helps prevent sinus infections/problems. If you have sinus problems or get regular sinus infections in the winter, increasing the amount of humidity in the air can help. As you breathe in the humidified air, it restores moisture to the nasal and sinus passages.
    • Increases recovery time should you get sick. In the event you do get a cold, flu, or sinus infection, using a humidifier can help shorten the time you are sick. Symptoms like sore throat, running nose, coughing, and sneezing are also reduced with higher humidity levels.
    • Makes it feel warmer inside on those cold and brisk days. Dry air will feel colder than it really is because of the lack of humidity. Humidifying the air helps add moisture and this also helps make you feel more comfortable. As such, you may not need to keep the thermostat set as high and could reduce your heating bills.
    • Eliminates static electricity from the air. If you have problems with static electricity in the wintertime, this is because there is not enough humidity in the air. Using a humidifier will get rid of static electricity and those surprise shocks!

    Air Humidifier Turned On

    Why Do I Need a Humidifier in Tampa?

    Tampa and the Tampa Bay Area tend to be warm with humid air conditions most of the year, although, from November through mid-to-late February, temperatures can become unseasonably cold without any warning.

    Whenever the jet stream drops and pulls the cold northern air down from Canada, it can reach all the way to the Tampa Bay Area. If it remains around for several days, the humidity levels quickly drop.

    In addition, with cooler winter temperatures and shorter days, the humidity levels will also drop on their own. This is why an 80-degree day in January feels much more comfortable than an 80-degree day in April.

    This past winter, temperatures were much colder than they have been in quite some time. If you experienced a shock when you opened your January heating bill, you definitely should consider getting a humidifier before next winter—not to mention all the other benefits it can provide to improving the indoor air quality during the wintertime in your home.

    Man Pointing at Humidifier

    What Is a Dehumidifier?

    A dehumidifier helps remove humidity from indoor air. It is well-suited for humid conditions where indoor humidity levels are higher than 50% relative humidity. There are small dehumidifiers that can be used in a single room and are perfect for small rooms in the home. There are also larger capacity dehumidifiers that work well in open floor plans and larger rooms. You will even find whole-home dehumidifiers that can be connected to or built-in as part of your home’s AC system.

    Air Humidifier

    What Are the Benefits of a Dehumidifier?

    Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air which provides many benefits for homeowners. Most modern portable units are quieter than previous generations. While some of these units do require you to empty the water pan when it is full, others can be connected directly to a discharge drain. You also do not have to worry about emptying the water pan on whole-home systems.

    Some of the more common benefits gained include:

    • Better indoor air quality. It is important to maintain the right humidity levels in the home year-round. During the warmer spring, summer, and fall months, humidity levels are much higher, so the air inside can also be more humid.
    • Reduces and eliminates musty odors from the home. If your home smells musty, this is a sign you have high humidity indoors. Regularly using a dehumidifier can help get rid of this odor and make your home smell better.
    • Helps alleviate allergies. If you suffer from allergies, higher humidity levels can sometimes trigger reactions. Lowering the amount of humidity will help those with allergies to dust, pet dander, pollen, dust mites, mold, and mildew.
    • Helps reduce asthmatic symptoms in people with asthma, as well as other respiratory conditions. Increased humidity levels can irritate respiratory conditions, including asthma. Reducing humidity levels makes it easier to breathe and avoid having an attack.
    • Reduces the likelihood of mold and mildew in the home. Mold and mildew thrive in moist, damp, and humid environments. This is why both are typically found primarily in bathrooms. Yet, if you have problems with mold and mildew in other rooms of the home, you will want to reduce humidity levels to resolve this issue.
    • Slows the growth and spread of dust mites. Dust mites are small microscopic creatures that feed on pet dander and dead skin cells. They thrive and increase in numbers when there are higher humidity levels inside the home. Reducing the amount of humidity in the air helps reduce their numbers.
    • Helps reduce condensation problems within the home. If you notice condensation on your walls, windows, or other areas inside the home, this is often caused by the cooled indoor air reacting with the humidity in the air. As it cools, it turns from a water vapor into a water.
    • Makes you feel cooler when indoors. Removing excess humidity will make the indoor air feel cooler naturally since a dehumidifier does help cool a room . When you feel cooler, you may not need to turn down the thermostat as much and could save on your cooling costs.

    Woman Dumping Water Out of Humidifier

    Why Do I Need a Dehumidifier in Tampa?

    Tampa and the entire Tampa Bay Area are next to the Gulf with numerous inlets and other freshwater rivers, marshes, and streams nearby. Being near a constant source of water typically results in higher humidity levels from the early spring through the late fall.

    Not only is the outdoor air more humid, but also the air inside your home. A good sign humidity levels have risen indoors is if the air feels “stuffy” even while the air conditioner is cooling the home. If you want to come home to better quality air that is not “stuffy” after a long day at work, then you will want to get a dehumidifier for your home.

    Air Rescue recommends a whole-home dehumidifier solution for homes in the Tampa Bay Area. A whole-house solution makes it easy to remove humidity from multiple rooms more efficiently compared to portable units.

    HVAC technician taking notes

    To learn more about humidifiers and dehumidifiers for your home, as well as heating and AC maintenance and repairs, and air duct cleaning, repairs, and maintenance , please feel free to contact Air Rescue at 813.375.9982 today! We have been serving the entire Bay Area since 1946 and offer 24-hour emergency services.

  • How Can You Eliminate or Keep Mold From Growing in Your Home?

    Mold and mildew can be harmful if it is growing in your home. There is no real way to get rid of mold indoors, ultimately the way to control mold is to control moisture. Without moisture the mold or mildew cannot grow. Here are a few tips to help avoid mold and control moisture:

    • Find and fix the source of the water or leak to prevent the mold from growing
    • Quickly clean all water leaks and spills. Mold is less likely to grow if it is cleaned within 24-48 hours.
    • Clean mold and eliminate the source of moisture.
    • Make sure you regularly repair and clean roof gutters.
    • Water management is important. Keep rain water away from home.
    • Make sure that rain doesn’t collect around your home, it should drain away.
    • Check foundation. Make sure the ground is angled in a way where water can drain.
    • Make sure the humidity indoors is low. if you see any moisture on windows, pipes, walls etc., dry it and reduce water source. COndensation can mean high humidity.
    • Make sure all appliances that produce moisture are properly vented. Clothes dryers, stoves etc.
    • Keep AC drip pans and drain lines clean.
    • Use a dehumidifier if you need to.
    • Use fans when needed to increase ventilation and air movement. Only open doors and windows if its practical.
    • Run exhaust fan or open window when showering.
    • Cover cold surfaces like cold water pipes with insulation.

    These are just a few tips you can do to try and avoid mold or mildew growth in your home. You can schedule an appointment and have a licensed, trained professional come to your home and make sure there is no mold or mildew growing in your home. We can also inform you of other ways to help control moisture and avoid possible mold and mildew growth.

     

  • Familiar Problems With Air Conditioning Systems

    Just like servicing your car, your air conditioning system needs to be serviced too, just not as often as a vehicle. 93% of all breakdowns can be prevented by having routine maintenance done on your system. This will keep it running well and efficient. Below are a few of the most common problems people experience with their air conditioning system.

    • Inadequate maintenance- If your air conditioners coils and filters are dirty, the system will not perform right and may cause the compressor or fans to fail sooner than expected. Dirty filters are a common problem, this can be fixed easily by replacing the old one with a new filter. Changing filters regularly are important in keeping your drain lines clean. Filters that are dirty let dust and other particles in the system, all the particles will build up and can block that drainage system.
    • Drainage Difficulties- It can be very humid in Florida, this humidity can cause the drain to become clogged and not drain properly. Be sure to check the drain when the humidity level is high. Some drains may not drain properly if it is not mounted level. Clogged drains are one of the most common problems with an AC system. When your AC cools your home, it makes condensation. This moisture travels through a drainage system and that drain must not be clogged. If this does become clogged the water will fill up the drain pan and when it overflows it can damage your home. The drain must be properly placed to work correctly.
    • Electric Control Breakdown- The controls to the fan and the compressor can wear out, especially when your AC system turns on and off many times throughout the day. This also happens when your air conditioning system is too big for your home. Wires and terminals can also corrode, electrical connections should be analyzed.
    • Refrigerant Leaks- If your AC system has low refrigerant, it was not filled properly at installation or it has a leak. If your system has a refrigerant leak, adding refrigerant will not fix the problem. A trained professional should fix your leak, test and add the proper amount of refrigerant. Performance and efficiency will be at the highest level when the refrigerant is matched correctly will the manufacturer’s specifications. These leaks can be bad for the environment.

  • Is Your Air Conditioner Working Hard This Summer?

    Florida is already humid anyways, but the wet and rainy summer time makes humidity levels higher than normal. This humidity can make you uncomfortable and create more problems for your air conditioning system. One of the most important duties of your AC system is to remove any moisture.

    What to look for at home

    If you air conditioning system is turning off 4 to 5 times an hour during the hot Florida summer, it’s not performing efficiently. Your AC system should run continuously 40 to 50 minutes to maintain the temperature in rooms as well as keep the humidity at a comfortable level. When the system first begins cooling it will use the most energy, more than it will us in the next 30 minutes. If it is turning on and off multiple times within an hour it would be using more energy than it would running for a consistent 2 hours.

    Mold and mildew

    Humidity can make you uncomfortable in your home, it can also allow mold and mildew to grow. You may find this in bathrooms and on walls and ceilings. If wood floors and windows begin to warp this is also a sign of high humidity levels. The high level of humidity must be reduced or mold and mildew will occur.

    Uncomfortable humidity

    One thing that comes from short air cycles is uncomfortable humidity level in your home. If you have the right sized system for your home, it will allow you to feel comfortable even if the temperature is set at 76. If the humidity levels are low then it will be much more comfortable. The humidity level in your home should not be above 50%.

    Schedule an appointment to have the humidity levels in your home checked, we can help you keep your home safe by informing you on ways to control moisture and avoid mold growth.