Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can create multiple problems, like mold growth, musty odors, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to balance humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the most challenging time of year to remain in this range. Fortunately, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with suggestions to adjust 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 takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner may be enough to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still 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 eliminates 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.

Mop Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and may promote mold growth. Dry any standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you dislike increased humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even run independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and avoids 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 use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter Consistently

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and could support mold and mildew if it gets wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC turns on. Replace the air filter each month or as recommended by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you select the best fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as needed, giving you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time for a replacement. Select a new AC system with innovative features, such as 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 meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Control Indoor Humidity with Air Engineers Service Experts

If you think it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Air Engineers Service Experts 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 call us today.

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