Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can result in various problems, including mold spores, musty odors, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

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

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, along with ideas to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity

Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process necessitates 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 filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cooled, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Ways to Decrease Humidity

Running the air conditioner might be sufficient to push the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be 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. Detached ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to let in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and can promote mold spores. Wipe up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you dislike extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even run independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without using the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it only runs 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 will sometimes encourage 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 decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Adjust the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your air conditioner is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

A depleted supply of refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, severe issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, offering you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to replace it. Pick a new AC system with innovative features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Levy & Son Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioner, Levy & Son Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or request a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

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