Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can result in many problems, including mold spores, musty odors, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to control humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the toughest time of year to remain within 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, coupled with tips to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which absorbs 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 that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner may be sufficient to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to draw in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and can stimulate mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high 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 unit can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on milder days without using the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s better to set 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.

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes harbor mold growth if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Replace the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this might cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble sustaining the desired 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

Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as required, lending you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is wearing down, it could be time to look for a new one. Pick a new AC unit with advanced features, like 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 adjusts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Roland J. Down Service Experts

If you believe it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioning, Roland J. Down 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 request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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