Too much humidity can result in various problems, like mold and mildew, musty odors, structural issues, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to balance humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.
The perfect relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the toughest time of year to stick inside this range. Thankfully, running the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also lowers humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, along with recommendations to manage indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity
Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t put in 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 moves through the ductwork and passes over the evaporator coil filled with cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant soaks up heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
- The condensation drips into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away.
- Cooler, dehumidified air flows into your home.
Tips to Decrease Humidity
Running the air conditioner will sometimes be sufficient to lower the relative humidity beneath 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, consider these tips.
Run 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 cool. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to draw in fresh air.
Wipe Up Standing Water
Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors raise indoor humidity and could stimulate mold growth. Wipe up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.
Install a Dehumidifier
If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house system can even run independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on mild days without turning on the air conditioner. This approach saves you money and doesn't leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.
Flip the AC Fan to Auto
The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and drip away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow right back in your home. That’s why it’s more effective to adjust the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor turns on. You should be able to find this setting easily on your thermostat.
Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis
A clogged filter traps dust and debris and could support mold spores if it becomes wet. This sends moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC turns on. Replace the air filter once a month or as suggested by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality.
Fine Tune the Fan Speed
Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can lead to shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort preferences.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, get in touch with our HVAC specialists to tune up your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying efficiency should improve as a result.
Check the Refrigerant Charge
Low refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. Left ignored, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure could happen. Only a certified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, giving you another reason to request an AC tune-up.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it could 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 delivers the exact amount of refrigerant determined by 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 Gordon's Service Experts
If you think it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your AC system, Gordon's Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or arrange a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.