Can You Reduce Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Excess humidity can create many problems, such as mold growth, musty odors, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you hope to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.

The recommended relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the hardest time of year to remain in this range. Thankfully, running the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, alongside with tips to adjust 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 involves refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:

  • Indoor air moves through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
  • The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
  • The condensation drips into the condensate pan under the evaporator coil and drains away from your home.
  • Cool, dehumidified air blows back into your home.

Ways to Lower Humidity

Running the air conditioner may be enough to lower the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Properly

Use the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms more comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s milder 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 stimulate mold and mildew. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.

Run a Dehumidifier

If you grapple with high humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make every room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even operate separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Adjust 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 continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more effective to set the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.

Replace the Air Filter Regularly

An old filter traps dust and debris and can harbor mold growth if it gets wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home every time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter each month or as recommended by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.

Tweak the Fan Speed

Refining the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this could result in shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you select the right fan speed for your comfort preferences.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your AC is having trouble reaching the preferred temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain 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 impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could occur. Only a certified HVAC technician can resolve refrigerant leaks and recharge the system as required, offering you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.

Exchange Your Air Conditioner

If your home has constant comfort problems and your air conditioner is getting older, it could be time for a replacement. Choose a new AC system with advanced features, including 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 adjusts the fan speed to satisfy demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Balance Indoor Humidity with Robinson Service Experts

If you decide it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, Robinson 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 arrange a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.