Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can create many problems, like mold and mildew, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you want to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to stay within this range. Thankfully, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about how this works, coupled with suggestions to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates 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 requires refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

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

Tips to Lower Humidity

Using the air conditioner may be sufficient to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. This form of ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to draw in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

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

Run a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even function independently of the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Consistently

An old filter traps dust and debris and can harbor mold spores if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Change the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your cooling is having trouble sustaining the desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as needed, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC unit with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the precise amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying performance.

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

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

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