Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can create multiple problems, including mold spores, musty odors, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to stick in this range. Fortunately, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s details of how this works, alongside with tips to manage 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 how it works:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner will sometimes be enough to push the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with 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 eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and will sometimes promote mold spores. Dry any standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with increased humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house model can even function independently of the AC to lower humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and drip away. If you are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and may harbor mold growth if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Choose a new AC system with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the perfect amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control Indoor Humidity with Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air

If you think it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your AC system, Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air can help. Our HVAC services are structured to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.