Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create multiple problems, such as mold and mildew, musty rooms, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to manage humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to remain inside this range. Luckily, 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, coupled with recommendations to adjust 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 eliminates heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be sufficient to lower the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Correctly

Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation lowers 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

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and can encourage mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with extreme humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even function independently of the AC to lower humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s better to adjust the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor switches on. 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 and mildew if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter each month or as advised by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this could result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble sustaining the preferred temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left ignored, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a certified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, giving you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may be time to replace it. Install a new AC system with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Manage Indoor Humidity with D.A. Bennett Service Experts

If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your AC system, D.A. Bennett Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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