Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause various problems, including mold spores, musty rooms, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to stick inside this range. Fortunately, turning on the air conditioner can help.

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

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add 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 moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Lower Humidity

Running the air conditioner will sometimes be adequate to push the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

Run 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 comfortable. 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 growth. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even function separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without running the air conditioner. This method 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 drip away. If you are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s better to set the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor turns on. 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 can support mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC starts. Change the air filter once a month or as advised by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this can result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble sustaining the preferred temperature, contact 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

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, giving you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting old, it could be time to replace it. Choose a new AC unit with innovative features, including 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 adapts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you think it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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