Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause multiple problems, like mold and mildew, musty odors, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort. 

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the toughest 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 lowers humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, along with tips to balance indoor humidity levels. 

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity 

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t put in 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 the process: 

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant. 
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil. 
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home. 
  • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home. 

How to Lower Humidity 

Running the air conditioner may be enough to push the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try these tips. 

Ventilate Properly 

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

Wipe Up Standing Water 

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and may promote mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems. 

Install a Dehumidifier 

If you dislike increased humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even run separately from the AC to remove humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and doesn’t leave you with 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 run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture won’t be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only on 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 old filter traps dust and debris and may support mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Change the air filter once a month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality. 

Tweak the Fan Speed 

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort preferences. 

Clean the Evaporator Coil 

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble sustaining the set temperature, call our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result. 

Verify the Refrigerant Charge 

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left ignored, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as necessary, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up. 

Exchange Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it might be time to replace it. Select a new AC unit with advanced features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness. 

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

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

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