Why Does High Humidity Make Me Feel Hotter?
Summer humidity is more than just a nuisance. Step outside and clothes stick to your body. Hair has a mind of its own. Crowded places smell like your junior high locker room. Here’s why the combination of high heat and humidity makes us feel more miserable than high temperatures alone:
The human body is actually a highly complex air-conditioner. When the body heats, pores on the skin open, releasing water and salts. The water on the skin evaporates, leaving you feeling cooler. (You actually have an evaporator coil in your mechanical comfort system!)
Humidity is the amount of water in the air in a gaseous state. The more water in the air, the slower natural evaporation occurs and the hotter you continue to feel. When relative humidity reaches a high enough level, the body’s natural cooling system simply can’t work. In extreme cases, people suffer from heat cramps or heat stroke, as the body begins to cook itself. Air becomes a breeding ground for microscopic organisms such as mold and mildew, and dust mites. Asthma triggers explode.
According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) the optimum humidity to regulate body functions is between 35-60%. Humans begin to feel uncomfortable at about 55%-60%. At 70% humidiity, sweat no longer evaporates.
Just like the wind chill factor in Winter warns of extreme cold, the heat index provides warnings of dangerous heat. The higher the humidity, the more dangerous the heat. Even working or playing in the shade during periods of high humidity can be dangerous. For example, at 88 degrees with 40% humidity or below, you should feel comfortable and body functions should continue safely. But add 85% humidity to 88 degrees, and the air feels like 110 degrees.
While cotton was at one time the fabric of choice for summer clothing, it holds moisture and leaves you feeling soggy and hot. Wicking fabric is growing in popularity, engineered to keep the skin drier and transferring heat to the air more easily. Interestingly, wicking fabric keeps you cooler in Summer, and warmer in Winter.
Your experts at Lifestyle Comfort Solutions offer creative solutions to Summer’s cooling and health challenges. Call us, visit us on Facebook, or at www.lifestylecomfortsolutions.com to learn more.
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Lifestyle Comfort Solutions provides professional heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services to Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Centerville, Dayton, Fairborn, Huber Heights, Kettering, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, Spring Valley, Springboro, Troy, Vandalia, West Carrollton, and surrounding communities. Call us at 937-202-4520 or request service online today.