Too much humidity can result in various problems, including mold spores, musty odors, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to control humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.
The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the toughest time of year to stay inside this range. Thankfully, running the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s details of how this works, coupled with tips to adjust indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity
Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:
- Indoor air flows through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
- The condensation flows into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains away.
- Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.
Tips to Reduce Humidity
Running the air conditioner will sometimes be enough to push the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, try these tips.
Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. This form of ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to draw in fresh air.
Clean Up Standing Water
Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and will sometimes encourage mold and mildew. Clean up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.
Run a Dehumidifier
If you struggle with extreme humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even run separately from the AC to lower humidity on more temperate 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 gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s better to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to change this setting easily on your thermostat.
Change the Air Filter Consistently
An old filter traps dust and debris and could support mold growth if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC starts. Change the air filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and increase air quality.
Tweak the Fan Speed
Refining the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this may cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you determine the best fan speed for your comfort requirements.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble maintaining the preferred temperature, call our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.
Check the Refrigerant Charge
A depleted supply of refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, serious issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can develop. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as necessary, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
If your home has continuous comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to look for a new one. Select a new AC unit with modern features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the exact amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying performance.
Balance Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
If you believe it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are structured to improve 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.