Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can create multiple problems, such as mold spores, musty odors, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary 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 usually the toughest time of year to stick in this range. Luckily, running the air conditioner can help.

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

How Air Conditioning Eliminates Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process involves refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

  • Indoor air rushes through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation flows into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Tips to Decrease Humidity

Using the air conditioner will sometimes be sufficient to lower the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Turn on 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 more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to let in fresh air.

Wipe Up Standing Water

Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and may promote mold and mildew. Clean up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even run independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without using the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

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

Swap Out the Air Filter Regularly

An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and may harbor mold growth if it becomes wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC starts. Exchange the air filter every month or as advised by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and improve air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this might result in shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the right fan speed for your comfort needs.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your air conditioner is having trouble sustaining the preferred 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

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left unchecked, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as necessary, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has continuous comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time for a replacement. Pick a new AC system with innovative features, like a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV delivers the perfect amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to suit demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control Indoor Humidity with Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or upgrade your air conditioning, Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or arrange a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.

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