Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can result in many problems, such as mold and mildew, musty rooms, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to control humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

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

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s info about how this works, alongside with ideas to manage indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels 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 falls into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be enough to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

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 more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to let in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install 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 operate separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without using the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow back into 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 find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and may encourage mold spores if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Change the air filter each month or as recommended by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can lead to shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you select the ideal fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your cooling is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left alone, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as necessary, 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 getting older, it could be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC system with innovative features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers 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 enhance cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are structured to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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