Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can cause various problems, like mold growth, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage 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 in this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, alongside with tips to adjust 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 removes heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up 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.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner will sometimes be sufficient to lower the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Correctly

Use the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to draw in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you dislike extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even run independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

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

Swap Out the Air Filter Consistently

An old filter traps dust and debris and could harbor mold growth if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter every 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. Higher airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this may lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you select the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your cooling is having trouble sustaining the desired temperature, call our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, lending you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it could be time to look for a new one. Pick a new AC unit with innovative features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Control Indoor Humidity with Komfort Air Service Experts

If you think it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Komfort Air Service Experts 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 qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.