Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause multiple problems, like mold spores, musty rooms, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the most challenging time of year to stay within this range. Luckily, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s details of how this works, alongside with recommendations to control 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 requires refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects 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.
  • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be enough to lower the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to allow in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and may stimulate mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Use 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 eliminate humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and prevents 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 use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip 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.

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and could harbor mold and mildew if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Change the air filter each month or as advised by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble sustaining the set temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as necessary, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time for a replacement. Choose a new AC unit with advanced features, such as 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 satisfy demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Control Indoor Humidity with Comfort Masters Service Experts

If you think it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioning, Comfort Masters Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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