Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in various problems, such as mold growth, musty smells, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the hardest time of year to stick in this range. Thankfully, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s info about how this works, alongside with tips to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates 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 necessitates refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be enough to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to draw in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold growth. Wipe up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house model can even run separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you use the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and may support mold and mildew if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC starts. Exchange the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this could lead to shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you select the best fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your cooling is having trouble sustaining 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.

Confirm 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 might happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort issues and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may 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 offers the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to suit demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

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