Why Does It Feel Hotter Than It Is?

It’s summertime and it is H.O.T, hot! Seems like every day during the heat of the summer, the weather forecasters are using phrases like “and the heat index is 117 degrees.” What does that mean, exactly? And why does it feel hotter than it is?

It’s the humidity. If you’ve lived in South Carolina long, you’re intimately acquainted with humidity. We say things like, “It’s hot enough to make the statues sweat.” It’s true, but the reason for that is not the heat. It’s the amount of moisture in the air, which is what humidity measures.

How Humidity Affects Temperature

Okay, so why does humidity make it feel hotter than it actually is? Consider this: most of the time when you’re at the beach and you get out of the water, you feel cooler than before you went in, right? This is because there’s usually a breeze that helps the water on your skin evaporate. Evaporation has a cooling effect on the human body. It’s why we sweat. The body opens up pores and produces sweat as a means of cooling the body off.

When the humidity is high – meaning there’s already a high moisture content in the air – the air can’t absorb any more moisture. When the humidity is at its highest, even a nice breeze won’t aid in evaporation. The result is that your body can’t cool down by sweating and you feel hotter than the temperature around you. This is also why it’s so important to have your Carrier HVAC system inspected to ensure it’s operating efficiently. A well-tuned HVAC system can ensure that humidity levels inside your home are adjusted to the appropriate levels.

Combatting Humidity

Cooling down when it feels hotter than it is, is no easy task but there are a few things you can do:

  • Wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing. Tighter clothing doesn’t allow air to pass over your skin, making it harder for your body to cool down.
  • Choose all cotton clothing or select fabrics designed to wick away moisture and help you cool down.
  • Drink lots of water. Dehydration is one of the top dangers when the heat index is high because your body produces more sweat in an effort to cool you down, which leaches water and other essential nutrients from your system.
  • Schedule outdoor activities for the cooler hours of the day – usually early morning and late evening. During the heat of the day, stay inside or remember to take frequent breaks from being outside to give your body time to cool time.
  • Schedule a tune-up for your Carrier HVAC system. One of Our certified technicians will ensure your unit is operating at the most efficient levels to keep your home cool and comfortable. Then, inside at least, it won’t feel hotter than it really is.

Give Carolina Cool a call to schedule your Carrier HVAC tune-up. We offer science-based solutions to improve the indoor air quality (and efficiency) of your home. Call us today: 843-213-2050