Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?
Excess humidity can cause many problems, such as mold growth, musty rooms, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to control humidity if you want to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.
The ideal relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the hardest time of year to remain within this range. Fortunately, turning on the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s details of how this works, along with recommendations to adjust indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity
Contrary to what you might think, 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 the process:
- Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
- The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
- Cooler, dehumidified air blows back into your home.
Tips to Reduce Humidity
Running the air conditioner might be sufficient to push the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, try again with these tips.
Use the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. This form of ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to allow in fresh air.
Mop 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.
Install a Dehumidifier
If you grapple with high 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 system can even function separately from the AC to remove humidity on mild days without turning on 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 are running the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won’t be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to set the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.
Swap Out the Air Filter Regularly
An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and may support mold and mildew if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Replace the air filter every month or as recommended by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and improve air quality.
Adjust the Fan Speed
Setting the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this can result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you choose the best fan speed for your comfort requirements.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your air conditioner is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.
Confirm the Refrigerant Charge
A depleted supply of refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left unchecked, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might develop. Only a skilled HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, giving you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.
Upgrade Your Air Conditioner
If your home has consistent comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it could be time for a replacement. Pick a new AC system with advanced 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 suit demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying performance.
Control Indoor Humidity with Winnipeg Supply Service Experts
If you think it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, Winnipeg Supply Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are structured 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 give us a call today.