Most of the things we know about heat and humidity are purely based on our feeling instead of our knowledge in these areas. For example, we might feel that the dry air is not as dense as the humid air. Simply because we can feel how dense it is when the humidity is high. Or we often get arthritis pain before the rain comes and think that is a result of high humidity in the air.
The facts turn out to be opposite. Read on to find out about ten common and interesting misconceptions that many people may get about heat and humidity.
- The Hottest Days Do not Come In June
- Humid Air Is Denser Than Dry Air
- Warm Air Has More Water Vapor
- Warm Air Expands So There Is Room For More Water Molecules
- High Humidity Causes Joint Pains
- Fans Can Cool Down The Room
- Low Level Of Humidity Is Better Than Higher Level Of Humidity
- An Air Conditioner Is Used To Cool The Air
- Turn Down The Temperature In Air Conditioner Will Cool the Room Faster
- Relative Heat and Humidity Links With Comfort
The Hottest Days Do not Come In June
Let’ start with a simple but still misunderstanding fact about heat and humidity. People tend to think that the hottest time of the year is in June. It’s usually around the day when the summer solstice occurs.
It is true that on June 21, the Northern Hemisphere receives the most sunlight as well as solar radiation. However, after that day, it takes time for all of the heat to be transferred and reflected on Earth. It explains why we need to wait one month for the hottest day. Afterward, it starts to cool off, and we then have less hot days in August.
Humid Air Is Denser Than Dry Air
This thought is based on what we feel about the air during these days. We also tend to think that humid air means that there is a great amount of water vapor in it. And of course, with a lot of water vapor, it will be denser. However, it is not scientifically true.
In reality, humid air is less dense than dry air. The air includes a lot of different kinds of molecules such as water, oxide, and nitrogen molecules. A specific amount of air always has the same number of molecules. Hence, if there are more water molecules in the air when it is humid, other molecules, which are heavier than the water ones, will be pushed out, making the air less dense. You can easily feel how hard to breathe it is on the hot, humid day since there is less oxygen for you.
Warm Air Has More Water Vapor
This is one common misconception which is as misleading as the thought that humid air has more water vapor.
When the temperature falls down, it is only able to hole a small amount of water vapor. Therefore, the relative humidity will rise.
In the summer, there is a greater amount of water vapor. Because there is a lot more thermal energy for the water molecules as well as the sweat from your body to escape from the things that are holding them.
Warm Air Expands So There Is Room For More Water Molecules
The air contains a lot of different molecules, and there is a plenty amount of space among them. Thus, there will be a lot of rooms for the water molecules to find their way to stand in the air.
When it gets warmer, the distance between other molecules such as nitrogen and oxygen molecule does expand. However, they are not in a significant amount, compared with the colder day.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the amount of water vapor in warm does not depend on the expansion of the warm air.
High Humidity Causes Joint Pains
Mainly people, especially older people with arthritis pain, can tell if there is a rain or storm coming when they start to feel the aches in their joints. It is true that before the rain, the humidity tends to get higher. However, the main culprit for this problem is not humidity but barometric pressure.
This pressure indicates how strong the air push against our body. Normally, when it pushes to our joints, it prevents the tissues around them from expanding and causes joint pain.
Fans Can Cool Down The Room
When it is hot, our body tends to sweat a lot- means that our body is in a cooling process. With the breeze from the fan, it can help to eliminate the sweat quicker, making us feel cooler.
However, there is nothing fan can do with the high temperature of the room, so turn it off when you leave the room to save energy.
Low Level Of Humidity Is Better Than Higher Level Of Humidity
It is true that high level of humidity cause a lot of troubles. It makes us feel uncomfortable as well as making the room damper and creating an ideal environment for mold and mildew to develop.
However, it is not true that the opposite of high humidity- low humidity will make us feel more comfortable. In reality, low level of humidity will cause significant impacts on our woody furniture, makes our skin more irritated and causes inflammation in our respiratory tract.
The ideal humidity levels are from 30 to 50 %, which you can maintain easily with the aid of a humidifier or a dehumidifier.
An Air Conditioner Is Used To Cool The Air
While an air conditioner’s main function is to cool the air, it can also lower the level of humidity since the dryer air is much cooler than humid air.
So when you turn on your air conditioner, remember to turn on the dry option as well. With this option, you will feel much cooler, hence saving you a lot of energy and money in electric bills.
If your air conditioner does not have a dry option, consider buying a dehumidifier. This appliance will be useful in many ways and help you to save money in the long run as well.
Turn Down The Temperature In Air Conditioner Will Cool the Room Faster
In fact, the air conditioner always works at a constant pace until it reaches the level that you set. So in case you set the temperature too low, your room will end up with a lower temperature in not so quick time.
Also, many people tend to think that if they leave the air conditioner all day, it will be more efficient than turning it on later. However, keeping the conditioner working all day will cost more money and energy.
Relative Heat and Humidity Links With Comfort
Sometimes, you will feel really uncomfortable with a sense that it is very humid. It turns out that the level of humidity is quite low. The answer for that discomfort is dew point.
Dew point is estimated by the temperature at which water vapor turns into a liquid. As our body goes through the cooling process by sweating, it will feel hotter and more uncomfortable in the day the dew point is high.
So in case you want to go out on a hot summer day, make sure to check the dew point and heat index instead of the relative humidity. They are better indicators of how hot it will make you feel.
Here are some of the most common things you might get wrong about heat and humidity. With the new information, I hope you will have more knowledge and better ideas to handle the extreme conditions of heat and humidity as well.