Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can create various problems, such as mold growth, musty odors, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to stay within this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

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

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Lower Humidity

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

Ventilate Correctly

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

Wipe Up Standing Water

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

Use a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with extreme 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 model can even run independently of the AC to remove humidity on milder days without using the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, 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 adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Consistently

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

Tweak the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the ideal 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, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to inspect 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 perform its job. Left ignored, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as needed, giving you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it could be time to look for a new one. Pick a new AC system with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the exact amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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