Can You Decrease Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create many problems, including mold growth, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable 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 generally the toughest time of year to remain within this range. Thankfully, 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, along with tips 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 takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air accumulates on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooler, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Ways to Reduce Humidity

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

Ventilate Effectively

Use the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to allow in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

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

Use a Dehumidifier

If you dislike increased humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house model can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

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

Replace the Air Filter Regularly

A clogged filter traps dust and debris and can encourage mold spores if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Replace the air filter each month or as recommended by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this may cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

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

Confirm the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left unchecked, serious issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as necessary, offering 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 wearing down, it could be time to replace it. Pick a new AC unit with modern features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Manage Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

If you think it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, 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 raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.