Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can create various problems, including mold growth, musty smells, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you want to improve indoor air quality and home comfort. 

The perfect relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to stay inside this range. Luckily, 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, alongside with recommendations to adjust indoor humidity levels. 

How Air Conditioning Lowers 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 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 that contains cold refrigerant. 
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil. 
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away. 
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home. 

Ways to Reduce Humidity 

Turning on the air conditioner will sometimes be enough to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, consider these tips. 

Ventilate Correctly 

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

Mop Up Standing Water 

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and could encourage mold spores. Dry any standing water promptly to avoid these problems. 

Run a Dehumidifier 

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even function independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without running the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling. 

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto 

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and drip away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set the fan to “auto” so it is only running 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 could support mold growth if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC is running. Change the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality. 

Fine Tune the Fan Speed 

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil 

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your cooling is having trouble maintaining the desired temperature, contact 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 

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as necessary, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up. 

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it may be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC system with modern features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the perfect amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to suit demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying performance. 

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

If you think 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 improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today. 

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