Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause multiple problems, such as mold growth, musty smells, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you want to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to stay within this range. Fortunately, 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 suggestions to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, 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 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 accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner may be enough to bring the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try 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 more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to let in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and will sometimes promote mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, consider 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 run independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes encourage mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Change the air filter once a month or as advised by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this might cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble sustaining the set 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.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left alone, severe issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC unit with advanced features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the exact 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 performance.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you think it’s time to put in 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 raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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