If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Toronto summers are more tolerable when you’ve got air conditioning. We all know that feeling of stepping out of a hot day into an air conditioned home: comfort.
How bad is the problem? Well, in Toronto the outdoor humidity can climb as high as 94%. That’s a far cry from the recommended humidity of around 30%-50%. To put that 94% number in perspective, in an average summer, according to Tarion, most houses will see 7,300 litres of water pass through them, just from humidity.
Add to that the fact that relative humidity (RH), which is a more accurate measurement of how hot something feels gets much worse during the summer because of the interaction between heat, pressure, and water. In other words, 60% humidity in the winter does not feel like 60% humidity in the summer. Instead, the temperature difference is more pronounced that it would be without the humidity. And for many, that’s reason enough to invest in air conditioning. However, it’s not the only reason.
In fact, far more pressing for some are the health and property risks that come with Toronto’s unbearable humidity, something that air conditioners help to mitigate. So here are five more ways that air conditioners help us in everyday life.
1. Humidity Causes Damage To Your House and Belongings
A few weeks ago, the Telegraph reported that damage had befallen one of Raphael’s priceless works of art. The culprit? A faulty air conditioning unit. It’s truly a shame that so much damage can be done just because the importance of air conditioning wasn’t recognised. Interestingly, it was the popularity of the painting that created the problem, as hundreds of warm and humid bodies crowded around it, something the designer of the air conditioner did not correctly account for.
That’s a perfect example of how small deviations in heat and humidity can cause enormous damage to objects. It’s for the same reason that guitars and other sensitive items or even your kitchen cabinets must be kept away from high (and low) humidity conditions: certain materials are very sensitive to it. There are many horror stories to point to, but what is clear is that ignoring your humidity levels can put your furniture and belongings in serious danger. If you ever want to move, it can also lower the resale value of your home.
2. Humidity Brings Unwanted Guests into Your Home
Health Canada sees humidity as a major factor in pest control. According to some studies, dust mite infestations are often cured completely simply by reducing the humidity below 50%.
In addition, high humidity levels increase organic decay which bugs and all manner of things love. Think of it this way: by letting humidity levels rise in the summer, you’re providing a major food source to the neighbourhood’s small animals. They’re going to visit, and when they see the humidity levels in your home, they’ll want to stay.
3. Humidity Can Cause Toxicity in your Home
It’s scary but true: water is going to draw some toxins out of your furniture and home. In fact, higher humidity levels increase the rates at which dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde seep out of things and into the air.
These chemicals are found in many things: couches, lamps, the metal in your stove — it’s very difficult to have a modern life without them. So when you live in a home without an air conditioner, you’re taking a risk, and likely taking more of these chemicals into your system.
Additionally, many moulds are only found in places with high humidity. Mould needs water to grow, and if a room is humid, you’ll usually start seeing mould spores take root pretty quickly. Mould and humans often do not get along, as many moulds can be toxic to humans.
4. Humidity Can Make You Sick
And that brings us to one of the biggest reasons we can think of to have an air conditioner. People have a general sense that low humidity in the winter is bad for your health, but did you know that high humidity can also wreak havoc with your immune system?
In some cases, the health problems are the result of allergies to the increased levels of dirt and pests in the air, but many people may simply be having a normal human reaction to increased levels of mould spores in the air. Many doctors will recommend that their patients who experience respiratory issues minimize the humidity in their home, usually with an air conditioner.
5. Humidity Can Make You Unhappy
For many years, scientists have been suspicious that humidity levels are correlated in some way with mood. In 1975, Persinger et al. showed that there is a significant relationship between high humidity levels and low mood. But let’s explore that idea a little more.
It seems likely that, since high humidity causes many negative experiences for many people (see reasons above), people just naturally feel less happy because their lives are that much worse. Plus, how often have you been on a hot bus and just felt miserable?
Air Conditioners Are Good For You
The bottom line is this: humidity, low or high, is bad for you. Air conditioners make it possible to control the extremes of Toronto humidity, and thereby allow you to have a bit more control over your health. And remember you did it to stay healthy!
About DR HVAC
We are experts in Air Conditioning , Furnaces and Air Quality. We Service the following Toronto areas: Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, Vaughan, Milton, Peel, Maple, Concord, Woodbridge, Caledon.
For more information, call us at: (905) 457-4425 or