Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

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

The perfect relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to remain within 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 info about how this works, coupled with suggestions to adjust 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 involves refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

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

Ventilate Correctly

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

Mop Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and will sometimes promote mold spores. Clean up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with extreme humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even run separately from the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without running the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and drip away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, 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 running when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes harbor mold growth if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter each month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this could lead to shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your air conditioner is having trouble reaching the desired 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.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, serious issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as needed, offering you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time to look for a new one. Select a new AC unit with modern features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers 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 improve cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Eveready Service Experts

If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Eveready Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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