The "Feels Like" Temperature in Your Home

May 26, 2016

It's common knowledge that the temperature on the thermostat in your home doesn't tell the whole story about comfort. The so-called "feels like" temperature isn't usually the same as the actual temperature reading on the thermostat. A temperature of 68 degrees can feel one way in January and another way in July. If you know why this happens, you can manipulate the factors that make the air feel differently. The main factor is humidity, thoughair movement also can make the air feel warmer or cooler, more comfortable or less comfortable. In general, humid air feels warmer than dry air. You know the feeling on a muggy day in the summer when the air conditioning is either not working or isn't doing its job. You feel clammy and uncomfortable. There's little or none of the natural cooling that occurs when sweat evaporates from the body. Sometimes, during our hot and humid Iowa summer, an A/C will struggle to eliminate both heat and humidity. In the winter, the air tends to be much dryer, both from the effect of cold temperatures and indoor forced-air heating. This also can be uncomfortable, leading to dry skin, chapped lips, itchy eyes, and resulting in annoying and sometimes painful static electricity. Dry air also feels cooler than moist air, which means that 68 degrees that would have felt comfortable in July will feel chilly in January. Luckily, there are effective ways to control humidity in a home, including using humidifiers (usually during the heating season) and dehumidifiers (cooling season). To achieve a "feels like" temperature that's comfortable throughout the house, consider investing in whole-house humidification/dehumidification systems. With home cooling, you also can consider upgrading to a larger-capacity new A/C system to keep up with humidity removal in the summer. Regular maintenance also helps cooling systems remove humidity effectively. Air movement, either from natural drafts or fans, will make the air feel warmer or cooler. Seal air leaks and use (or don't use) ceiling fans to control this factor.

To discuss ways to enhance comfort in your Des Moines-area home, please contact at Lozier Heating & Cooling.Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Oakozhan/Shutterstock"