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Does Indoor Humidity Affect Energy Bills?

Indoor humidity does affect your energy bills, especially if you compensate at the thermostat for the discomfort overly dry or humid air causes. Humidity contributes to the “feels like” temperature indoors and out. When the humidity ranges between 30 and 50 percent indoors, it’s seldom noticeable. But outside of those parameters, most people begin to feel uncomfortable.

In the Winter

The air inside homes dries out during the winter when the wind patterns shifts from a southerly flow to northerly, which brings in dry, cold air. Heating the indoor air with furnaces also lowers the humidity and as a result, the air feels cooler. The moisture on your skin evaporates more quickly, which has a cooling effect. Water uses considerable energy to evaporate and it takes that energy from your skin.

Many people turn up the thermostat to stay warmer when in reality, it’s just as effective to bring up the humidity to healthy levels. Not running kitchen and bathroom fans increases the humidity, as does using portable humidifiers.

Another way to assure ideal indoor humidity in the winter is with a whole-house humidifier that attaches to the air handler. This appliance will distribute a precise amount of water vapor through the ductwork whenever it’s needed.

In the Summer

The southerly wind shift of summer pulls plenty of moisture into the area that increases indoor humidity and the “feels like” temperature. Skin moisture evaporates slowly and makes you feel warmer.

The excess humidity puts a burden on air conditioners and will raise energy bills. Air conditioners pull humidity from the air as a natural byproduct of cooling it. As effective as they are at dehumidification, using them to lower the humidity raises energy costs. More affordable options for lowering the humidity include portable or central dehumidifiers and using kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans while cooking or bathing.

Managing indoor humidity throughout the seasons will lower energy costs associated with home comfort. For more information, contact Beyer Boys, providing HVAC services for San Antonio homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).