Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create multiple problems, such as mold and mildew, musty smells, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to balance humidity if you hope to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the toughest time of year to stick within this range. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, alongside with tips to manage indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be sufficient to push the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Turn on 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 a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to allow in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and will sometimes encourage mold and mildew. Wipe up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with extreme humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even function independently of the AC to lower humidity on milder days without using the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better 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 on a Regular Basis

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and may encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter once a month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain 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 choose the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble sustaining the set temperature, call 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

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as required, giving you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it might be time to look for a new one. Select a new AC system with innovative features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Sunbeam Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Sunbeam Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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