Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can create many problems, like mold growth, musty smells, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the most challenging time of year to stay in this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s details of how this works, coupled with suggestions to manage indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • 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 condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Tips to Reduce Humidity

Using the air conditioner might be enough 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 Correctly

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

Clean Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Run 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 unit can even function separately from the AC to lower humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you run 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.

Swap Out the Air Filter Consistently

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC starts. Exchange the air filter every month or as suggested by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble reaching the set temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

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

Replace Your Air Conditioner

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

Control Indoor Humidity with Calverley Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioner, Calverley Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize 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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