Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can result in multiple problems, including mold growth, musty rooms, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to remain within this range. Thankfully, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just 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 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 soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air moves 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 underneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

How to Lower Humidity

Turning on the air conditioner might be sufficient to push the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation removes 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.

Wipe Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and may encourage mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

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

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you use the air conditioning fan constantly, 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 running when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter Regularly

An old filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Change the air filter every month or as recommended by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your AC is having trouble maintaining the preferred temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, serious issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting older, it might be time to look for a new one. Select a new AC system with innovative features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Control Indoor Humidity with Orangutan Home Services

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Orangutan Home Services can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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