Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create multiple problems, such as mold spores, musty smells, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the toughest time of year to remain within this range. Thankfully, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s info about how this works, coupled with suggestions to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Tips to Reduce Humidity

Using the air conditioner might be adequate to lower the relative humidity under 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. Spot ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to draw in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and can promote mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you dislike high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even function independently of the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s better to flip 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.

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and may support mold growth if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Change the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble maintaining the preferred temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can develop. Only a qualified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, lending you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to replace it. Install a new AC unit with modern features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the precise amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you think it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, 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 ask questions or arrange a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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