Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause many problems, like mold and mildew, musty odors, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to control humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

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

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

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

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

    • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
    • The refrigerant stores 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.
    • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Tips to Lower Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be enough to lower the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Properly

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

Wipe Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and may stimulate mold growth. Dry any standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and prevents 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 drip away. If you are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won’t be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better to adjust the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Regularly

An old filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes support mold and mildew if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter every month or as suggested by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your AC is having trouble maintaining the preferred temperature, call our HVAC specialists to tune up 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 hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, giving you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it may be time to replace it. Select a new AC unit with advanced features, such as 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 adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

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

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

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