Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause multiple problems, such as mold spores, musty smells, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to control humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the most challenging time of year to remain in this range. Thankfully, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s details of how this works, coupled with tips to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates 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 all over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be adequate to push the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

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

Mop Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and can stimulate mold growth. Wipe 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 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 eliminate humidity on mild 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 collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better to adjust the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Consistently

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 is running. Exchange the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this could cause shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the ideal fan speed for your comfort preferences.

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 inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting older, it might be time for a replacement. Select a new AC system with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Control Indoor Humidity with TML Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, TML Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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