Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create many problems, like mold and mildew, musty rooms, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to balance humidity if you hope to enhance 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 in this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with recommendations 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 takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

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

How to Lower Humidity

Using the air conditioner will sometimes 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 again with these tips.

Ventilate Correctly

Turn on 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 let in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and can encourage mold growth. Wipe up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you dislike 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 operate independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set 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 Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and could harbor mold spores if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC starts. Change the air filter each month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this may lead to shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the best fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

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

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to replace it. Select a new AC system with innovative features, like 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 satisfy demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Falso Service Experts

If you think it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your AC system, Falso Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or arrange a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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