Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can create multiple problems, like mold spores, musty smells, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you want to improve indoor air quality and home comfort. 

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to stay inside this range. Luckily, running 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, along with ideas to control indoor humidity levels. 

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity 

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

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant. 
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil. 
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away. 
  • Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home. 

Ways to Lower Humidity 

Using the air conditioner may be enough to lower the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, try 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 cool. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to draw in fresh air. 

Wipe Up Standing Water 

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

Run a Dehumidifier 

If you grapple with extreme humidity in the summer, think about 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 operate separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without turning on the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling. 

Set the AC Fan to Auto 

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s better to set 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. 

Swap Out the Air Filter Consistently 

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes encourage mold and mildew if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC is running. Change the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and enhance air quality. 

Adjust the Fan Speed 

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort needs. 

Clean the Evaporator Coil 

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result. 

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge 

Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left alone, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, giving you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up. 

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has consistent comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting older, it might be time for a replacement. Install a new AC unit with modern features, including 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 increases or decreases the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying efficiency. 

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

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are designed to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please call us today. 

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