Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause many problems, like mold spores, musty rooms, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to manage humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to stick in this range. Fortunately, turning on 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, along with suggestions to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t put in 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 how it works:

    • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
    • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
    • The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
    • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be sufficient to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

Turn on 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 comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to let in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and may encourage mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with increased humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even operate independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without using the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won’t be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better to adjust the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and may harbor 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 suggested by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can result in shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble sustaining the preferred temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

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

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time to look for a new one. Choose a new AC unit with innovative features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to suit 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 get a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are structured to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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