A healthy air conditioner is critical — even for our suburbs with cool-sounding names, like Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake and Sleepy Hollow. July in the Chicago area can be just as uncomfortable as July in Southern Florida – especially when temperature and humidity levels rise together.
When the weatherman announces the heat index, he is talking about the formula that combines air temperature and relative humidity to determine how hot it feels to us. When it is hot our body cools itself off by sweating, but to have a cooling effect the sweat must evaporate. As the relative humidity approaches 100% our sweat does not evaporate well … and the body suffers more from the heat.
Without air conditioning, people are more susceptible to respiratory problems, especially those with an already compromised respiratory system or lung problems. When the heat index rises high enough, heat-related systems can cause dizziness, faintness, fatigue, dehydration, numbness, loss of concentration, loss of motor skills. Continued exposure to high heat and humidity may lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Air conditioners have to work harder when humidity is added to hot temperatures.
For example, let’s say that Barrington and our other suburbs experience a normal summer in the Midwest. It’s the middle of July and the thermometer says it is 89 degrees, but the humidity is close to 100%. The air conditioning system must not only deal with the air temperature, but the high density of condensed moisture. This moisture causes the air conditioner to work longer and harder in order to cool the air and reduce the moisture from a home or office.
In order to stay cool this summer – to be healthier and more comfortable – be sure to maintain your air conditioner or replace an inefficient one with a model that will not only keep you cool, but save money!