Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can create various problems, including mold spores, musty smells, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you want to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to stick within this range. Thankfully, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about how this works, along with ideas to manage 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 necessitates refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be adequate to bring 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

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 comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to draw in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and could encourage mold growth. Wipe up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even operate independently of the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without running the air conditioner. This strategy 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 drip away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more effective to adjust the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An old filter traps dust and debris and could encourage mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Replace the air filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this may cause shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the ideal fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left unchecked, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may develop. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, lending you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it could be time to look for a new one. Pick a new AC system with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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 qualified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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