Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?
Excess humidity can cause multiple problems, like mold spores, musty odors, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to balance humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.
The recommended relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to stick inside this range. Thankfully, running the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with tips to adjust indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Eliminates 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 necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:
- Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and all 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 below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
- Cooled, dehumidified air flows into your home.
Ways to Decrease Humidity
Using the air conditioner may be sufficient to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider these tips.
Use the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to draw in fresh air.
Wipe Up Standing Water
Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and can stimulate mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.
Install a Dehumidifier
If you grapple with extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even function separately from the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without using 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 build up and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s better to adjust the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.
Change the Air Filter Regularly
An old filter traps dust and debris and could support mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Change the air filter once a month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.
Adjust the Fan Speed
Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this could cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble sustaining the preferred temperature, get in touch with 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
Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left alone, major issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, lending you another reason to request an AC tune-up.
Upgrade Your Air Conditioner
If your home has continuous comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time for a replacement. Select a new AC unit with advanced features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.
Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
If you believe it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.