Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create many problems, like mold growth, musty rooms, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the most challenging time of year to stick in this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s details of how this works, alongside with suggestions to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t increase 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 rushes through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
    • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
    • The condensation flows into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
    • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Ways to Lower Humidity

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

Ventilate Effectively

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

Clean Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and may promote mold spores. Dry any standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house model can even run separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and can support mold spores if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Change the air filter once a month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this could cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, offering you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to look for a new one. Choose a new AC unit with modern features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact 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 effectiveness.

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

If you believe it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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