Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in many problems, like mold growth, musty rooms, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you want to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort. 

The ideal relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to remain inside this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help. 

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, alongside with suggestions to control 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 takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process: 

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

Tips to Lower Humidity 

Using the air conditioner may be enough to push the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, consider these tips. 

Ventilate Correctly 

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot 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 allow in fresh air. 

Wipe Up Standing Water 

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and can stimulate mold spores. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems. 

Install a Dehumidifier 

If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even function separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This method saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling. 

Set the AC Fan to Auto 

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won’t be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat. 

Replace the Air Filter Regularly 

An old filter traps dust and debris and may encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter each month or as advised by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and improve air quality. 

Tweak the Fan Speed 

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this could result in shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate 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 well. If your AC is having trouble sustaining the preferred temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result. 

Verify the Refrigerant Charge 

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left ignored, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might occur. Only a certified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up. 

Replace Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has continuous comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may be time to replace it. Install a new AC unit with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the perfect amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency. 

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 

If you think it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 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 contact us today. 

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