Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create many problems, including mold spores, musty rooms, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you want to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

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

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s info about how this works, coupled with ideas to adjust 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 removes heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air moves 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 falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

How to Lower Humidity

Using the air conditioner may be adequate to lower the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Use the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. This form of ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to let in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and could stimulate mold and mildew. Clean up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with extreme humidity in the summer, think about 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 operate independently of the AC to lower humidity on mild days without turning on the air conditioner. This method 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 accumulate and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective 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 on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and could harbor mold growth if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter every month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this may cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you select the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your air conditioner is having trouble sustaining the desired temperature, contact 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 impair your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left ignored, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as needed, lending you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort issues and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time to replace it. Pick a new AC system with innovative features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Strogen's Service Experts

If you think it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Strogen's Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to optimize 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 contact us today.

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