Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can result in multiple problems, including mold spores, musty smells, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to manage humidity if you want to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the most challenging time of year to stay within this range. Luckily, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s details of how this works, coupled with tips to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes 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 stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

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

How to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner might be enough to lower the relative humidity under 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 milder outside to let in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

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

Run a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house system can even operate independently of the AC to remove humidity on milder days without using the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and prevents 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 back into your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes harbor mold spores if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC turns on. Change the air filter every month or as advised by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this could cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the ideal fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left unchecked, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as needed, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may be time to replace it. Install a new AC unit with innovative 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 reinforce cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Control Indoor Humidity with Strand Brothers Service Experts

If you believe it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioner, Strand Brothers Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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