Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can create multiple problems, such as mold spores, musty smells, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to stay in this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s details of how this works, along with suggestions to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Ways to Lower Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be adequate to bring the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

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

Clean Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and will sometimes promote mold spores. Dry any standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s better to set the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and can support mold growth if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Change the air filter every month or as suggested by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on the hottest days, but this could lead to shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you select the best fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, call our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort issues and your air conditioner is wearing down, it could be time for a replacement. Choose a new AC system with innovative features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Freschi Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioner, Freschi 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 schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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