Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause many problems, such as mold growth, musty odors, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

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

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s details of how this works, coupled with ideas to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Ways to Lower Humidity

Using the air conditioner may be sufficient to lower the relative humidity beneath 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. Detached ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to draw in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and can stimulate mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even operate separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without turning on the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and avoids 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 trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and could harbor mold growth if it gets wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter each month or as advised by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this can result in shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble sustaining the desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC system with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the perfect amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control Indoor Humidity with Church Services

If you believe it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioning, Church Services can help. Our HVAC services are structured to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or arrange a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.