Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause many problems, such as mold and mildew, musty odors, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to manage humidity if you hope to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to remain inside this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

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

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner may be enough to push the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Run 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 a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to let in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

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

Use a Dehumidifier

If you dislike increased humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even run separately from the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without running 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 gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Regularly

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes harbor mold growth if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this might lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left alone, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it could be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC unit with innovative features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the perfect amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Strand Brothers Service Experts

If you think it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Strand Brothers Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

chat now widget box