Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can result in multiple problems, such as mold spores, musty odors, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to control humidity if you hope to improve 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 stay within this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about how this works, along with tips to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it takes out 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 all over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Tips to Reduce Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be sufficient to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to draw in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

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

Install a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even run separately from the AC to remove 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 collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you use the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s better to adjust 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.

Replace the Air Filter Regularly

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes support mold spores if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC starts. Replace the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your AC is having trouble reaching the preferred temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance 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 such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as necessary, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time for a replacement. Choose a new AC unit with modern features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the perfect amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

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

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