Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause various problems, like mold growth, musty odors, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to balance humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the hardest time of year to remain inside this range. Thankfully, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with recommendations to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Tips to Reduce Humidity

Running the air conditioner may be sufficient to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Use the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. This form of ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to let in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and will sometimes promote mold spores. Dry any standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house system can even operate independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This method saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective to adjust the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

An old filter traps dust and debris and may harbor mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter once a month or as advised by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this may lead to shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your AC is having trouble sustaining the preferred temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may be time to look for a new one. Pick a new AC system with advanced features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the precise amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Rolf Griffin Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Rolf Griffin Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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