Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Unwanted humidity can result in many problems, including mold growth, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to control humidity if you plan to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the toughest time of year to stay within this range. Luckily, turning on the air conditioner can help.

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

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

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

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air flows into your home.

How to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be sufficient to lower the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Effectively

Run 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 more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to draw in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

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

Install a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even run separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This strategy saves you money and avoids 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 run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better to set the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Regularly

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and can support mold growth if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Change the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase 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 may result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your AC is having trouble reaching the preferred 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.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as required, giving you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Select a new AC system with advanced features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the perfect amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you decide it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioner, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to maximize 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.

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