Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can cause many problems, including mold and mildew, musty rooms, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential 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 usually the toughest time of year to stay in this range. Luckily, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s details of how this works, along with ideas to adjust 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 eliminates heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

    • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil containing 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 out of the system.
    • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Ways to Lower Humidity

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

Ventilate Properly

Run 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 a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to let in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and could encourage mold spores. Wipe up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate independently of the AC to lower humidity on mild days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set 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.

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and can harbor mold spores if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter once a month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the ideal fan speed for your comfort requirements.

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 inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left alone, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, giving you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it could be time to replace it. Pick a new AC unit with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the precise amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to suit 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 get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, 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 share questions or arrange a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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