Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause many problems, like mold spores, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you want to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

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

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about 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 removes heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and passes 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 flows into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Tips to Lower Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner may be sufficient to lower the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Correctly

Run 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 allow in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and can promote mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you dislike high humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This method saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you use the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to set the fan to “auto” so it only runs 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 support mold growth if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Replace the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this might result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you determine the best fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your air conditioner is having trouble sustaining the desired temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can develop. Only a skilled HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as necessary, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is wearing down, it could be time to replace it. Install a new AC unit with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the perfect amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioner, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are designed to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or arrange a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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