Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can create many problems, like mold spores, musty odors, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to stick within 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, coupled with ideas to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which absorbs 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 soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
    • The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
    • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Lower Humidity

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

Ventilate Properly

Use 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 a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to allow in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

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

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate separately from the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s better to set the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and could encourage mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this could lead to shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the best fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Check the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left alone, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might occur. Only a certified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it might be time for a replacement. Select a new AC unit with modern features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to suit demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

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

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

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