Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can cause multiple problems, such as mold spores, musty smells, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you want to improve indoor air quality and home comfort. 

The ideal relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the toughest time of year to stick inside this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help. 

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with suggestions to manage indoor humidity levels. 

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity 

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process: 

  • Indoor air flows 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 under the evaporator coil and drains away from your home. 
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home. 

Tips to Decrease Humidity 

Using the air conditioner will sometimes be adequate 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 

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

Mop Up Standing Water 

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and can encourage mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems. 

Install a Dehumidifier 

If you dislike extreme 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 unit can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling. 

Flip the AC Fan to Auto 

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

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis 

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes support mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter every month or as recommended by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality. 

Tweak the Fan Speed 

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort preferences. 

Clean the Evaporator Coil 

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the set temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result. 

Check the Refrigerant Charge 

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might develop. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up. 

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it might be time for a replacement. Pick a new AC unit with innovative features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness. 

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

If you believe it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are structured to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or arrange a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today. 

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