Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create multiple problems, including mold growth, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to balance humidity if you want to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to remain within this range. Thankfully, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s info about how this works, along with tips to control 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 removes heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Ways to Lower Humidity

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

Ventilate Properly

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

Mop Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and could promote mold and mildew. Wipe up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, look into 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 separately from the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it only runs 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 harbor mold and mildew if it gets wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC turns on. Change the air filter each month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this might cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, call our HVAC specialists to tune up 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, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time to replace it. Pick a new AC system with innovative features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the precise amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Control Indoor Humidity with Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioning, Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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