Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause various problems, like mold spores, musty rooms, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you want 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 stay within this range. Luckily, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, along with recommendations to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

    • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
    • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
    • The condensation flows into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
    • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner might be enough to lower the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Properly

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

Mop Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and could encourage mold and mildew. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs 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 using the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more effective to adjust 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 Regularly

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and may harbor mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Replace the air filter once a month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might occur. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it could be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC unit with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the perfect amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve 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 swap out your air conditioner, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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