Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause multiple problems, including mold growth, musty odors, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the most challenging time of year to stick inside this range. Thankfully, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with tips to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner may be adequate to push the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Run 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 cool. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and could promote mold spores. Wipe up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you struggle 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 system can even function separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This method saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you use 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 find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and can encourage mold spores if it gets wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Replace the air filter each month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the ideal fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the preferred 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

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as necessary, offering you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Choose a new AC unit with modern features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the precise amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Control Indoor Humidity with Teays Valley Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Teays Valley Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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