Unwanted humidity can result in various problems, including mold and mildew, musty odors, structural damage, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to control humidity if you want to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.
The ideal relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to remain inside this range. Thankfully, using the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t just cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s details of how this works, alongside with recommendations to manage indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity
Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t put in cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which soaks up heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:
- Indoor air moves through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant soaks up 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.
- Cooler, dehumidified air flows back into your home.
Ways to Reduce Humidity
Turning on the air conditioner might be sufficient to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity remains a problem in your home, try these tips.
Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Spot ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to draw in fresh air.
Mop Up Standing Water
Water on shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and can promote mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.
Run a Dehumidifier
If you grapple with increased humidity in the summer, think about installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even run independently of the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This method saves you money and avoids that “cool but clammy” feeling.
Adjust the AC Fan to Auto
The condensation that gathers on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and drip away. If you run the air conditioning fan continually, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor switches on. You should be able to change 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 every time the AC turns on. Replace the air filter every month or as advised by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and improve air quality.
Tweak the Fan Speed
Setting the fan speed can be tricky. High airflow helps the AC keep up with cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can lead to shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort needs.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A grimy coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your air conditioner is having trouble reaching the desired temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying capabilities should improve as a result.
Verify the Refrigerant Charge
Low refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, severe issues such as a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure may occur. Only a skilled HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, giving you another reason to arrange 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. Pick a new AC system with modern features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV provides the exact amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features enhance cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.
Manage Indoor Humidity with Becht/Givens Service Experts
If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Becht/Givens Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are designed to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or schedule a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.