Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause many problems, including mold spores, musty rooms, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to control humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the most challenging time of year to remain within this range. Thankfully, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s info about how this works, coupled with recommendations to control 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 takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Ways to Reduce Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner will sometimes be enough to lower the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Properly

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 comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold spores. Dry any standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with increased 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 unit can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more effective to adjust 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 harbor mold and mildew if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC is running. Replace the air filter once a month or as suggested by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak 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 efficiently. If your cooling is having trouble sustaining the desired 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 impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left unchecked, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a certified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time to replace it. Choose a new AC unit with innovative features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with 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 Bob Brown Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Bob Brown 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 schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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