Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can create multiple problems, such as mold growth, musty rooms, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to manage humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the hardest time of year to remain in 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 details of how this works, alongside with tips to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t add 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 how it works:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Tips to Reduce Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be sufficient to push the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try 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 lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to draw in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and may stimulate mold spores. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even run independently of the AC to remove humidity on mild days without turning on the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and prevents 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 use the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to adjust the fan to “auto” so it only runs 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 could harbor mold growth if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your air conditioner is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could develop. Only a qualified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to replace it. Install a new AC system with modern features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the perfect amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control Indoor Humidity with Atmostemp Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioning, Atmostemp Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to optimize 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 contact us today.

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