Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in many problems, such as mold spores, musty smells, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to balance humidity if you hope to increase indoor air quality and home comfort. 

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to stay in this range. Thankfully, using the air conditioner can help. 

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s details of how this works, alongside with tips to manage 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 necessitates refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens: 

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant. 
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil. 
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home. 
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home. 

Tips to Lower Humidity 

Using the air conditioner will sometimes 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. 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 draw in fresh air. 

Clean Up Standing Water 

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and will sometimes encourage mold spores. 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 performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house system can even operate separately from the AC to lower humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This method 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 accumulate and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won’t be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better to set the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat. 

Swap Out the Air Filter Regularly 

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes encourage mold and mildew if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality. 

Tweak the Fan Speed 

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this can cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you determine the ideal fan speed for your comfort preferences. 

Clean the Evaporator Coil 

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

Verify the Refrigerant Charge 

Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, serious issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as needed, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up. 

Exchange Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time to look for a new one. Select a new AC unit with modern features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying efficiency. 

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

If you decide it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioner, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are designed to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today. 

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