Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?
Too much humidity can cause many problems, including mold spores, musty odors, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to balance humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.
The recommended relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the toughest time of year to stay inside this range. Luckily, turning on the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s info about how this works, coupled with tips to adjust 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 eliminates heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:
- Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
- The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
- Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.
Tips to Decrease Humidity
Using the air conditioner may be sufficient to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider these tips.
Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to allow in fresh air.
Wipe Up Standing Water
Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and may encourage mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.
Use a Dehumidifier
If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate separately from the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.
Flip the AC Fan to Auto
The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to adjust the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.
Change the Air Filter Consistently
A clogged filter traps dust and debris and could encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC starts. Replace the air filter every month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and improve air quality.
Tweak the Fan Speed
Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this might lead to shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the best fan speed for your comfort needs.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, call our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.
Check the Refrigerant Charge
Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, giving you another reason to request an AC tune-up.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
If your home has continuous comfort trouble and your air conditioner is wearing down, it could be time to replace it. Pick a new AC unit with modern features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.
Balance Indoor Humidity with Matz-Rightway
If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Matz-Rightway can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.