Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause multiple problems, like mold and mildew, musty smells, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to control humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to remain in this range. Thankfully, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, alongside with suggestions to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t increase 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 how it works:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Lower Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be sufficient to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Properly

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

Wipe Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and could promote mold and mildew. Wipe up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you dislike extreme humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate independently of the AC to lower humidity on mild 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 use the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter Consistently

An old filter traps dust and debris and may harbor mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter once a month or as suggested 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 keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this could lead to shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you select the best fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble reaching the set 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.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as needed, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to replace it. Pick a new AC system with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the precise amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to suit demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you believe it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your AC system, 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 share questions or arrange a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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