We’re now firmly entrenched in warm weather for the next few months – do you have the HVAC equipment you need to stay cool and comfortable throughout the season? It can seem like a daunting task, especially if you haven’t had to make such home climate control updates until now. But the process is not as difficult as it may initially seem – as long as you go into it with an idea about what you need. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s break down the primary goals for a summer of heat waves and humidity.
Most people immediately think “air conditioning” when they plan for the summer heat – and that’s a good place to start. But your basic window units won’t always cut it, especially if you have multiple rooms, floors, and zones you hope to control.
Many swear by central air – a fairly comprehensive air conditioner system that involves ductwork and an outdoor compressor and can provide cooling to every part of the home. That can be a great option, but if you don’t love the idea of invasive ductwork, then a ductless mini-split system might be right for you. These are highly efficient units that can be installed in various rooms and controlled via remote. No ducts mean easy installation, and they can be used independently or as part of an existing cooling system to account for areas in need.
If you’re new to making a decision about HVAC, be sure to remember there’s more to summer climate than heat, especially on the Atlantic coast. Humidity is a constant concern and even a cool home can turn clammy and damp. To make matters worse, humidity can exacerbate heat, according to HGTV – moist air prevents sweat from evaporating, our bodies’ mechanism for staying cool.
Consider the concept of relative humidity: the amount of moisture the air can contain at a given temperature. At 100 percent humidity, the air has as much moisture as it possibly can without resulting in precipitation. On the other hand, air that’s too dry can cause damage to the home and be bad for your health. Just as humidifiers help in the winter, dehumidifiers are a crucial piece of summer HVAC equipment – one that can displace as many as 90 pints of moisture a day should be enough to keep the humidity level in the Goldilocks zone between 30 and 60 percent.
What else is there for summer HVAC besides heat and humidity? Don’t forget about indoor air quality. Outdoor pollutants from pollen to dust to the smoke from your neighbor’s charcoal grill can infiltrate your living space, making the area impossible to enjoy. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests homeowners exercise source control to address indoor air quality. That can also mean using proper ventilation for your gas stove when cooking, for example.
If you have a good cooling system, you won’t need to keep the windows open all day, which will help your air quality. But you could also consider a filtration unit – or search for cooling systems that feature a built-in filter, as many central air and heat pump options do.
No matter what situation you’re in, there’s no reason to suffer through heat and humidity or poor air quality this summer. With a little research and some professional help, your home can be the summer oasis for the whole neighborhood.