Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can result in multiple problems, including mold and mildew, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to balance humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

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

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s details of how this works, alongside with recommendations to control indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

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

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant absorbs 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.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner may 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 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 lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to draw in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and can promote mold growth. Wipe up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Install 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 each room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even operate independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This method saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to adjust the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and can support mold spores if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Exchange the air filter every month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this can lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right 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 desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as necessary, lending you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to look for a new one. Choose a new AC unit with advanced features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the exact amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control Indoor Humidity with San Antonio Air Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, San Antonio 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 request a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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