Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can create various problems, like mold growth, musty smells, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to control humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to stay in this range. Luckily, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, along with suggestions to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process necessitates 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 containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Ways to Reduce Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be sufficient to push the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, consider 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 a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to allow in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and could promote mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even operate separately from the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and drip away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow right back in 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.

Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes harbor mold spores if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Change the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this can cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you select the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left ignored, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as needed, giving you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Choose a new AC system with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the perfect amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control Indoor Humidity with Knochelmann Service Experts

If you think it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Knochelmann 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 call us today.

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