Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?
Unwanted humidity can cause multiple problems, like mold growth, musty rooms, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you plan to improve 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, coupled with tips to control indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity
Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it removes heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:
- Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant collects 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 from your home.
- Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.
Ways to Reduce Humidity
Running the air conditioner might be sufficient to lower the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try these tips.
Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to draw in fresh air.
Mop Up Standing Water
Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and could stimulate mold spores. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.
Run a Dehumidifier
If you dislike extreme humidity in the summer, look into 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 lower humidity on mild days without running the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.
Adjust the AC Fan to Auto
The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only running when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.
Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis
An old filter traps dust and debris and could harbor mold spores if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Change the air filter every month or as recommended by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance 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 could result in shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you choose the right fan speed for your comfort needs.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble maintaining the desired temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.
Confirm the Refrigerant Charge
A depleted supply of refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left ignored, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could develop. Only a certified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as necessary, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.
Upgrade Your Air Conditioner
If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time for a replacement. Pick a new AC system with modern features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the perfect amount of refrigerant determined by the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying performance.
Balance Indoor Humidity with Winnipeg Supply Service Experts
If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your AC system, Winnipeg Supply Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.