Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in various problems, including mold spores, musty smells, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to control humidity if you plan to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the toughest time of year to stick in this range. Luckily, turning on the air conditioner can help.

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

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels 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 below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Ways to Reduce Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be adequate to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains 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. This form of ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold and mildew. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even run separately from the AC to remove humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

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

Change the Air Filter Consistently

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes support mold growth if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Change the air filter once a month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your AC is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left unchecked, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it could be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC unit with advanced features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Stark Services

If you believe it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioner, Stark Services 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 certified heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.