Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause multiple problems, including mold growth, musty odors, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to manage humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to stick inside this range. Luckily, using 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, along with recommendations to control 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 involves refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

    • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
    • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
    • The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
    • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Tips to Lower Humidity

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

Ventilate Properly

Turn on 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 more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to allow in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and may stimulate mold and mildew. Clean up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you dislike 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 run separately from the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, 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 running when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes support mold and mildew if it gets wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Replace the air filter once a month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble maintaining the preferred temperature, call our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as needed, lending you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time for a replacement. Install a new AC system with innovative features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the precise amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

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

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

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