Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in many problems, like mold growth, musty rooms, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the most challenging time of year to stick in this range. Luckily, using the air conditioner can help.

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

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it takes out 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 flows through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner will sometimes be enough to bring the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Properly

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

Wipe Up Standing Water

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

Install a Dehumidifier

If you dislike extreme humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without using the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you are running 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 switches on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Regularly

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

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on the hottest days, but this may result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work 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 effectively. If your cooling is having trouble sustaining the set temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to inspect 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 impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is wearing down, it could be time to look for a new one. Choose a new AC unit with advanced features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Golden Seal Service Experts

If you think it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, Golden Seal Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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