Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause various problems, such as mold spores, musty smells, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to control humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to remain within this range. Luckily, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, alongside with recommendations to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

Using 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, consider these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation lowers 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

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

Run a Dehumidifier

If you dislike extreme humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even operate separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without turning on the air conditioner. This method saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better to set 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.

Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes harbor mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter once a month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this could result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your AC 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 performance should improve as a result.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as required, offering you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may be time for a replacement. Select a new AC system with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Wesley Wood Service Experts

If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Wesley Wood Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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