Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can result in multiple problems, including mold growth, musty odors, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to manage humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort. 

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to remain within this range. Fortunately, running 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 ideas to manage indoor humidity levels. 

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity 

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

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant. 
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil. 
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system. 
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home. 

How to Lower Humidity 

Turning on the air conditioner might be adequate to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, try again with these tips. 

Ventilate Correctly 

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

Wipe Up Standing Water 

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and will sometimes encourage mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems. 

Use a Dehumidifier 

If you dislike high humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even function independently of the AC to lower humidity on mild days without turning on the air conditioner. This method saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling. 

Flip the AC Fan to Auto 

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you use the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective 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. 

Swap Out the Air Filter Regularly 

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Replace the air filter every month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and improve air quality. 

Tweak the Fan Speed 

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this could cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you determine the best fan speed for your comfort requirements. 

Clean the Evaporator Coil 

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your cooling is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result. 

Check the Refrigerant Charge 

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could develop. Only a skilled HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, giving you another reason to request an AC tune-up. 

Exchange Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time for a replacement. Select 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 consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency. 

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

If you think it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to optimize 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 call us today. 

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