Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in many problems, such as mold spores, musty rooms, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the toughest time of year to stay inside this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with ideas to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers 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 necessitates refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner may be adequate to lower the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

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 cool. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

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

Install a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house model can even function independently of the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you use the air conditioning fan continually, 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 is only running when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and can support mold and mildew if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter each month or as suggested by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you determine the best fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, severe issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as required, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort issues and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time to look for a new one. Select a new AC system with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Manage Indoor Humidity with R & M Climate Control Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, R & M Climate Control Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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