Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

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

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the toughest time of year to stick inside this range. Thankfully, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s info about how this works, along with recommendations to manage indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

How to Reduce Humidity

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

Ventilate Effectively

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

Wipe Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and may promote mold spores. Wipe up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even run independently of the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to set the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and may encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Change the air filter once a month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this could result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your AC is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left alone, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, 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 to replace it. Install a new AC system with advanced features, like 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 improve cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Broad Ripple Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioning, Broad Ripple Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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