Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create multiple problems, like mold and mildew, musty smells, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you want to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the most challenging time of year to stay within this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with suggestions to manage indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Ways to Reduce Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be enough to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still 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. Detached ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to let in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and may encourage mold spores. Dry any standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Install 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 every room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to adjust the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter Consistently

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and can support mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC starts. Replace the air filter once a month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your AC is having trouble reaching the set temperature, call our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time to replace it. Pick a new AC system with modern features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with A1 Chesney Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioner, A1 Chesney Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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