Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in many problems, like mold and mildew, musty smells, structural problems, 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 recommended relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to remain inside this range. Fortunately, turning on 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, coupled with recommendations to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner may be adequate to push the relative humidity under 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. Spot ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms comfortable. 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 increase indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold and mildew. Wipe up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without turning on the air conditioner. This strategy 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 accumulate and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter Regularly

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

Tweak the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble sustaining 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.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left alone, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, lending you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it could be time to replace it. Choose a new AC system with modern features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Jack Nelson Service Experts

If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Jack Nelson Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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