Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?
Unwanted humidity can result in many problems, including mold spores, musty odors, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.
The perfect relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the most challenging time of year to stay in this range. Luckily, running the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s info about how this works, alongside with ideas to control indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity
Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:
- Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
- The condensation flows into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
- Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.
Tips to Decrease Humidity
Turning on the air conditioner might be adequate to push the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider these tips.
Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to let in fresh air.
Wipe Up Standing Water
Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and could promote mold spores. Wipe up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.
Install a Dehumidifier
If you dislike increased humidity in the summer, look into 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 operate separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without using the air conditioner. This strategy 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 flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip 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.
Swap Out the Air Filter Consistently
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 turns on. Replace the air filter once a month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and improve air quality.
Tweak the Fan Speed
Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your air conditioner is having trouble sustaining the preferred temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.
Verify the Refrigerant Charge
Low refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, giving you another reason to request an AC tune-up.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
If your home has constant comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC unit with modern features, such as 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 adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying performance.
Control Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
If you believe it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.