Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?
Excess humidity can create multiple problems, such as mold and mildew, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.
The perfect relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to stay in this range. Luckily, running the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s info about how this works, alongside with suggestions to manage indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity
Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:
- Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
- The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
- Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.
Ways to Reduce Humidity
Using the air conditioner will sometimes be sufficient to push the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try again with these tips.
Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air.
Mop Up Standing Water
Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and can promote mold growth. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.
Run a Dehumidifier
If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house system can even operate separately from the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without running the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.
Set the AC Fan to Auto
The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.
Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis
A clogged filter traps dust and debris and may support mold growth if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Change the air filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance 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 can result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.
Check the Refrigerant Charge
Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.
Exchange Your Air Conditioner
If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time for a replacement. Pick 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 based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.
Control Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.