Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause multiple problems, like mold and mildew, musty rooms, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to control humidity if you want to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the hardest time of year to stick within this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s details of how this works, along with ideas to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates 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 involves refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner may be sufficient to push the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to draw in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and could stimulate mold and mildew. Wipe up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you dislike increased humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even function separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and avoids 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 drip away. If you run the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to adjust the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes support mold growth if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter once a month or as advised by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this might lead to shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the ideal fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your AC is having trouble reaching the set temperature, call our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left unchecked, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as needed, giving you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort problems and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may be time to replace it. Select a new AC system with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Manage Indoor Humidity with All American Air Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioning, All American Air Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are tailored 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 give us a call today.

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