Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can result in various problems, such as mold growth, musty smells, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort. 

The perfect relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the toughest time of year to stick within this range. Thankfully, turning on the air conditioner can help. 

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely 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 popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens: 

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

How to Lower Humidity 

Turning on the air conditioner may be enough to bring 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 Effectively 

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

Mop Up Standing Water 

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and can encourage mold and mildew. Wipe up standing water promptly to avoid these problems. 

Use a Dehumidifier 

If you dislike extreme 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 model can even operate separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without using the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling. 

Flip the AC Fan to Auto 

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat. 

Swap Out the Air Filter Regularly 

An old filter traps dust and debris and may harbor mold spores if it becomes 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 enhance air quality. 

Adjust the Fan Speed 

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right 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 sustaining the set temperature, call our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result. 

Check the Refrigerant Charge 

A depleted supply of refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as necessary, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up. 

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner 

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to look for a new one. Choose a new AC unit with modern features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the precise amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness. 

Control Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today. 

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