Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause multiple problems, including mold and mildew, musty odors, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to balance humidity if you want to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the toughest time of year to remain in this range. Thankfully, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s details of how this works, along with suggestions to manage indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

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

    • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
    • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
    • The condensation drips into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
    • Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner may be sufficient to bring the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

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 cool. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and could encourage mold growth. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even function separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without turning on 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 use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter Consistently

An old filter traps dust and debris and can encourage mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC turns on. Replace the air filter each month or as recommended by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble maintaining the desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can develop. Only a qualified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time for a replacement. Select a new AC system with innovative features, such as 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 adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Control Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are designed to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.

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