Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can create multiple problems, including mold and mildew, musty smells, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the toughest time of year to stick in this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s details of how this works, coupled with ideas to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

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

    • 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 flows into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
    • Cooler, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Reduce Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be adequate to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be 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 removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to draw in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and could promote mold spores. Clean up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you dislike increased humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without using 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 gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you use 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.

Swap Out the Air Filter Consistently

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and may encourage mold spores if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this can lead to shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you select the best fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, lending you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Pick a new AC system with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying performance.

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

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

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