Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in multiple problems, including mold spores, musty odors, structural damage, 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 recommended relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to stick in this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help. 

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about how this works, alongside with ideas to balance 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 involves refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process: 

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant. 
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil. 
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away. 
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home. 

How to Lower Humidity 

Turning on the air conditioner may be enough 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 

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 comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air. 

Wipe Up Standing Water 

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and could promote mold spores. Dry any standing water promptly to protect against these problems. 

Use a Dehumidifier 

If you grapple with 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 system can even run independently of the AC to lower humidity on milder days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and avoids 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 trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won’t be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better to adjust the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat. 

Replace the Air Filter Regularly 

An old filter traps dust and debris and could encourage mold growth if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality. 

Adjust the Fan Speed 

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this could cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort requirements. 

Clean the Evaporator Coil 

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your air conditioner is having trouble reaching the set temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result. 

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge 

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a certified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as necessary, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up. 

Replace Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it may be time for a replacement. Select a new AC system with innovative features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the exact amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying performance. 

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

If you believe it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are structured 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 give us a call today. 

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