We’ve all heard the expression, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.”  But here in Florida, it’s both. And the humidity – especially inside your home – can cause significant problems.

You may not realize this but one of the most effective tools you have right in your home to keep the humidity low is your air conditioner. Sized right for your home and functioning correctly, your air conditioner actually does more than keep it cool. It drives the humidity out.

“The purpose of the air conditioner in your home is to control the environment,” said Jim Bertie, owner of Bertie Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC. “That means it’s not only keeping your home cool in the summer or heating it when we have our cold snaps, it’s also removing humidity.”

​There’s no way around humidity, according to Bertie.

“Basically, here in North Florida we live in a swamp,” he said. “Humidity is a very big issue. There’s much more to humidity than making you feel uncomfortable. In your home humidity brings molds, viruses and bacteria.”

If the humidity in your home is above 60 percent, it is also a perfect nesting place for dust mites. And when we’re in the rainy season and the humidity is 100 percent outside, a house with the wrong air conditioner can see a spike in interior humidity.

Ideally you want to keep humidity in the house to around 45 to 55 percent and temperature around 75 to 78 degrees. So how do you do that?

“For an air conditioner to do the job effectively, it has to be the right size, operating properly to manufacturer’s specifications, and it has to undergo maintenance and cleaning,” Bertie said. “If it’s too big, it will keep your house cool, but it won’t run enough to drive out humidity. That will create mold and mildew problems. If it’s too small, it won’t keep up with your home’s needs.”

The easiest way to do that is to make sure to use a  licensed, insured and qualified HVAC company to buy and install your air conditioner. They take the time to make sure the size of the house and the size of your unit are compatible. Following that, it’s crucial you have them do their twice-a-year maintenance and cleaning to make sure your unit stays in prime condition.

That way you keep a healthy home. That means your home stays in good condition, and you are not plagued with health problems due to humidity, dampness, mold mildew and dust mites. After all, you want that Florida swamp to stay outside.

Next time Mr. Rick’s blog will feature a review of the type of inspections you might need for insurance purposes.