Excess humidity can create various problems, like mold growth, musty rooms, structural problems, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s essential to manage humidity if you want to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.
The perfect relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the most challenging time of year to remain inside this range. Fortunately, turning on 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 recommendations to balance indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity
Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s what happens:
- Indoor air moves through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil containing cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant absorbs heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
- The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains away.
- Cooled, dehumidified air flows back into your home.
Ways to Lower Humidity
Turning on the air conditioner might be sufficient to lower the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider these tips.
Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation lowers humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to draw in fresh air.
Mop Up Standing Water
Wet shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and can promote mold growth. Dry any standing water promptly to prevent these problems.
Install a Dehumidifier
If you dislike high humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house system can even function separately from the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This technique saves you money and prevents 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 trickle away. If you are running the air conditioning fan continuously, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s better to adjust 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.
Replace the Air Filter on a Regular Basis
A clogged filter traps dust and debris and can support mold growth if it gets wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC turns on. Change the air filter each month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality.
Adjust the Fan Speed
Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on the hottest days, but this could lead to shorter cycles that minimize the chance of effective dehumidification. Speak with an HVAC technician to help you determine the right fan speed for your comfort requirements.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A filthy coil can’t cool and dehumidify effectively. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the preferred temperature, call our HVAC specialists to inspect your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.
Check the Refrigerant Charge
A depleted supply of refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left alone, major issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can fix refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as needed, lending you another reason to schedule an AC tune-up.
Upgrade Your Air Conditioner
If your home has continuous comfort issues and your air conditioner is getting older, it may be time to replace it. Pick 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 based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.
Control Indoor Humidity with Barlow Service Experts
If you think it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or swap out your air conditioning, Barlow Service Experts can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To raise questions or schedule a visit from one of our qualified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.