Can You Lower Humidity by Running the Air Conditioner?

Too much humidity can create multiple problems, such as mold growth, musty smells, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to balance humidity if you plan to enhance indoor air quality and home comfort.

The ideal relative humidity level is about 30 to 50 percent. Summer is usually the toughest time of year to stick inside this range. Fortunately, turning on the air conditioner can help.

After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, alongside with suggestions to adjust indoor humidity levels.

How Air Conditioning Removes 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 requires refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s how it works:

    • Indoor air flows through the ductwork and travels over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
    • The refrigerant stores heat, and the moisture in the air condenses on the coil.
    • The condensation drips into the condensate pan beneath the evaporator coil and drains away.
    • Cool, dehumidified air flows into your home.

Ways to Lower Humidity

Using the air conditioner might be sufficient to lower the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity is still a problem in your home, consider these tips.

Ventilate Correctly

Run the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. Detached ventilation removes humidity at the source to keep these rooms cool. You can also open a window when it’s comfortable outside to let in fresh air.

Mop Up Standing Water

Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold spores. Clean up standing water promptly to avoid these problems.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you struggle with extreme humidity in the summer, look into installing a whole-house dehumidifier that runs in tandem with your air conditioner to make each room more comfortable. A whole-house model can even run separately from the AC to eliminate humidity on milder days without running the air conditioner. This method saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.

Set the AC Fan to Auto

The condensation that forms on the evaporator coil needs time to accumulate and flow 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 effective to flip the fan to “auto” so it is only on when the AC compressor starts. 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 could encourage mold and mildew if it gets wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home each time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter every month or as recommended by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality.

Fine Tune the Fan Speed

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

Clean the Evaporator Coil

A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your cooling is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

Low refrigerant can hinder your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left ignored, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can occur. Only a qualified HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, offering you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.

Upgrade Your Air Conditioner

If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is wearing down, it may be time to replace it. Select a new AC unit with modern features, such as a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the precise amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to meet demand. Both features reinforce cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.

Control Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If you believe it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your air conditioner, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are structured to maximize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please call us today.

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >
parts and labor icon

$50 OFF Any Repair

  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!
maintenance icon

$50 OFF HVAC Tune-up Special

There’s no reason to skip your seasonal maintenance that saves energy and helps ensure your air conditioner and heater will work reliably all season long.

  • Regularly $129, now only $79
  • Save up to 30% on energy bills
  • Written Expert Service Guarantee

© 2023 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.