“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” That’s a comment we’ve all heard as we’re sweating and fanning ourselves on a scorching day. The concept of humidity is pretty simple: it’s the amount of moisture the air holds, and the hotter that air is, the more water it holds. Humidity is the reason why a dry 80-degree day at 25 percent humidity is so much more pleasant than a sticky 80 degrees at 60 percent humidity. Shall we condemn humidity as bad? Like many things in life, the answer to that question is…complicated.
You feel particularly miserable in hot, humid conditions because the humidity hampers your body’s built-in cooling mechanism: sweating. When surrounded by water vapor, the sweat on your skin evaporates slowly. Lazy evaporation produces far less evaporative cooling than it would in dry, desert air, when the perspiration evaporates instantly. Ah, there’s the answer: humidity is bad! Right?
Not so fast. Your vocal cords adore humidity. They work better in humid environments because moisture makes them supple and elastic. It’s easier to talk comfortably if you are having a long conversation and stay on pitch if you’re a singer. There’s a reason Celine Dion asked dry Las Vegas to build her a custom humidified auditorium for her stage show. We’ve figured it out: with humidity, the show goes on!
Um, that depends. Humidity provides wetness for several notorious home invaders: mold, fungus and mildew. You’ll easily smell these funky growths, too. You detect scents better in humid environments because water picks up stink and carries it to our noses more efficiently. Interestingly, that’s why wet dogs have a distinctive odor that dry dogs don’t. So, humidity is bad, right?
Think again: count your hometown baseball team among the humidity cheering squads. Many teams store game balls in a moist container to cut home runs by about 25%, tamping down opponents’ fire power at the plate. Score another point for humidity.
As you may have guessed from this back-and-forth discussion, humidity is both good and bad, depending on where you find it. Controlling humidity is what counts. For Florida homeowners, that control means a reliable A/C with a dust-free condenser coil that pulls water vapor from your home air and sends it down the drain. Service America tunes up your A/C to keep your home comfortable in two ways: cooler air and lower humidity levels. And that’s definitely good!