Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause many problems, including mold and mildew, musty odors, structural damage, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you hope to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the toughest time of year to remain in this range. Luckily, running the air conditioner can help.

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

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

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

  • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

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

Ventilate Correctly

Run 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 comfortable outside to draw in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and may stimulate mold and mildew. Wipe up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Install a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even run separately from the AC to lower humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This method saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.

Swap Out the Air Filter Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and can encourage mold and mildew if it gets wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC turns on. Exchange the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may cause shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you select the best 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, contact our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left ignored, serious issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as needed, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it might be time for a replacement. Install a new AC system with modern features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the precise amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to suit demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are designed 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 give us a call today.