Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause many problems, like mold and mildew, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you want to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the most challenging time of year to remain inside this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s info about how this works, coupled with suggestions to manage indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t add 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 what happens:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Tips to Lower Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be adequate to lower the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try 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 lowers 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.

Clean Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and will sometimes promote mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you dislike high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even function independently of the AC to lower humidity on milder days without using the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Change the Air Filter Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and could harbor mold spores if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Change the air filter every month or as recommended by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on the hottest days, but this might result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble maintaining the preferred 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

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to replace it. Pick a new AC unit with innovative 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 adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control Indoor Humidity with Peachtree Service Experts

If you think it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your AC system, Peachtree Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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