Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can cause many problems, like mold spores, musty odors, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you hope to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the hardest time of year to stay within this range. Luckily, using the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s details of how this works, coupled with recommendations to balance indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes Humidity

Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
  • The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home.

Tips to Reduce Humidity

Running the air conditioner will sometimes be adequate to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. This form of ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s more temperate outside to allow in fresh air.

Clean Up Standing Water

Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and can encourage mold growth. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you dislike extreme humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even operate separately from the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without running the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Flip the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and trickle away. If you run the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to adjust the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace 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 any time the AC is running. Replace the air filter once a month or as suggested by the manufacturer to lower indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

Setting the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on particularly hot days, but this may result in shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you choose the ideal fan speed for your comfort requirements.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your air conditioner is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.

Verify the Refrigerant Charge

Insufficient refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, serious issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may happen. Only a qualified HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as required, lending you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time to look for a new one. Install a new AC system with modern features, like 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 adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control 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 maximize 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.

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