Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause many problems, like mold and mildew, musty rooms, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to balance humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the hardest time of year to stay within this range. Thankfully, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, coupled with tips to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t put in 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 rushes through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores 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.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

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

Ventilate Properly

Use 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 more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to draw in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

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

Run a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high 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 unit can even run separately from the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust 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 continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s better 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.

Replace the Air Filter Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and may encourage mold growth if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Replace the air filter every month or as suggested by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may lead to shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the ideal fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can resolve 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 consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is wearing down, it might be time for a replacement. Choose a new AC unit with modern features, like 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 adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Rob's Albertan Service Experts

If you think it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioning, Rob's Albertan Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to optimize 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 call us today.

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