Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can result in many problems, like mold growth, musty rooms, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the toughest time of year to remain within this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about how this works, alongside with suggestions to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

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

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Ways to Reduce Humidity

Using the air conditioner might be sufficient to lower the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Correctly

Use 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 a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to let in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

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

Use a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without turning on the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and drip away. If you use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture won't be able to leave 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.

Replace the Air Filter Consistently

An old filter traps dust and debris and can encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC starts. Replace the air filter every month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your cooling is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, contact 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

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as necessary, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time for a replacement. Select a new AC unit with advanced 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 meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Norrell Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Norrell Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to optimize 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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