Why does it feel hot even when it’s cloudy?
In a typical Melbourne summer, the humidity is higher in the morning and then lessens by the afternoon. However on days when humidity remains high all day we start to feel the effects of sticky skin, wet brows and shortened breaths, even when there is cloud cover. When humidity strikes, we want air-con and icy drinks – and we want it now! On these days we want to know how to control humidity!
Generally, 37%-45% humidity is comfortable for most people. Over 45% becomes uncomfortable and creates a feeling of the day being hotter than it actually is. This is definitely the case for Melbournians, who are used to a dryer Southern climate, compared to the tropical climate found as you move Northwards and closer to the equator.
What is high humidity?
While temperature is about heat, humidity is about moisture. Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air, often also referred to as the dewpoint. Water vapour is an invisible gas, but we can see the effect of it when it becomes water droplets on a surface (like on the skin or a window pane), or forms fog or cloud. Warm air can hold more water vapour than cold air. That’s why on warm days, it can feel even hotter and stickier before and after it rains.
When dewpoint is high, it feels hotter because skin cannot cool as efficiently. You are not able to release as much moisture from your body because the air around you is moist. The moisture stays in or on your skin and cannot evaporate, so you do not cool as quickly as you do when the air is dry.
Ten tips for handling humidity and keeping healthy
Apart from making us feel hot and uncomfortable, this excess moisture in the air can cause mildew and mould growth, dust mite activity, and associated health problems. Following these ten tips can help you keep humidity under control:
• Modern air conditioners dehumidify as they cool, (evident by the moisture you can hear and even see, draining away in the unit). So select modern, energy efficient units such as Daikin’s Ururu Sarara 7 split-system air conditioner (see more below) for your home or office.
• Use ‘cool’ not ‘fan’ setting on your air-conditioner thermostat or remote. In ‘fan’ mode the air constantly blows even if the cooling system isn’t running. Any moisture that has been removed from rooms when the ‘cool’ mode is on will be blown back inside before it can drain away into the outside air.
• Keep windows closed so any outside moisture doesn’t blow in.
• Use internal exhaust fans to take out steam produced from showers, cooking, washing dishes, boiling water, etc.
• Avoid drying wet clothes inside on humid days, the resulting wet air will stay in your house and make your air conditioner work harder to keep you cool.
• Invest if a dehumidifier if you suffer from health issues such as asthma, allergies and eczema, which can be irritated by excess moisture in the air.
• Allergy triggering dust mites thrive in humid conditions. Ensure you wash and air bedding, blankets and cushions more regularly – but hang them outside to dry!
• Be aware of window/door seals and floorboard gaps too. High humidity causes wood to swell and change shape and can create air gaps in your floor, skirtings, doors and windows that need your attention.
• Remember to drink lots of water on humid days to keep hydrated and alert.
• Wear loose, natural, breathable fabric clothing such as cotton or silk to give your skin a better chance of keeping cool.
Surrey Air recommends Daikin’s Ururu Sarara 7 (US7) to control humidity
To enjoy a comfortable indoor climate, you need more than just a pleasant temperature. Precise adjustment of both the humidity level and ventilation in a room is also important, but until now this has not been available in most conventional air conditioners.
The English translation of ‘Ururu Sarara’ refers both to the humidification and dehumidification functions that distinguish this split system from every other, allowing you to obtain ideal conditions all year round.
The Daikin US7 split air conditioning system will heat or cool your home and workplace, and is also capable of humidifying, dehumidifying, ventilating, and purifying the indoor air. Built with energy efficient technology, it’s the perfect solution for Australians.
“We have been very comfortable since Surrey Air installed our new Daikin Ururu 7 star air conditioner in January 2016. The technicians arrived promptly, did tidy work and gave us good instructions on how to use the unit. We were looking for an energy efficient unit to replace our old one, and we are looking forward to seeing the savings on our next power bill.”
Robert and Jan Humphreys, Cheltenham