Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause many problems, including mold growth, musty rooms, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to stay in this range. Luckily, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about how this works, coupled with recommendations to control 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 eliminates heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which stores 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 soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Lower 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, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

Turn on 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 more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to let in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and can stimulate mold growth. Wipe up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you dislike high humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without running the air conditioner. This method 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 build up and drip away. If you use the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won't be able to leave 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 adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes encourage mold spores if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter once a month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left unchecked, severe issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. 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.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time to replace it. Install a new AC system with modern features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the precise amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with BW/Cook Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioner, BW/Cook Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to improve 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 contact us today.

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