Unwanted humidity can result in various problems, like mold spores, musty smells, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to control humidity if you hope to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.
The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the most challenging time of year to stay inside this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about how this works, along with suggestions to adjust indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity
Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:
- Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
- The condensation drips into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
- Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.
Tips to Lower Humidity
Using the air conditioner will sometimes 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 again with these tips.
Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. This form of ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to draw in fresh air.
Wipe Up Standing Water
Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and could promote mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.
Run a Dehumidifier
If you dislike high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even run separately from the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.
Flip the AC Fan to Auto
The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s better to set the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.
Replace the Air Filter Regularly
An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and can harbor mold growth if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC turns on. Change the air filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and improve air quality.
Fine Tune the Fan Speed
Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort preferences.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.
Confirm the Refrigerant Charge
Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, serious issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, lending you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may be time to replace it. Pick a new AC unit with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the precise amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying performance.
Manage Indoor Humidity with Parker Pearce Service Experts
If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Parker Pearce Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.