Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in many problems, such as mold growth, musty odors, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to stick inside this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s details of how this works, along with recommendations to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

    • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
    • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
    • The condensation flows into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
    • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner may be enough to lower the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to draw in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and may encourage mold and mildew. Wipe up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you dislike high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even function independently of the AC to lower humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Consistently

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and may harbor mold growth if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Replace the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might result in shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you select the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left alone, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, giving you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it may be time to look for a new one. Pick a new AC unit with innovative features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are designed to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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