Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can cause various problems, like mold growth, musty odors, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the hardest time of year to remain in 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 details of how this works, alongside with recommendations to manage indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner will sometimes be adequate to bring the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider 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 comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to let in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

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

Use a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, look into 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 separately from the AC to lower humidity on mild days without using the air conditioner. This approach 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 flow away. If you are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to adjust 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.

Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes harbor mold spores if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter each month or as suggested by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase 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 could cause shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you select the ideal fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your AC is having trouble sustaining the set temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, severe issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, offering 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 wearing down, it may be time for a replacement. Select a new AC unit with modern features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying performance.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioning, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.