Excess humidity can cause various problems, including mold growth, musty rooms, structural problems, and an uncomfortable muggy feeling. That’s why it’s necessary to manage humidity if you hope to improve indoor air quality and home comfort.
The perfect relative humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Summer is generally the toughest time of year to stay in this range. Fortunately, using the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t solely cool your home—it also reduces humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, along with recommendations to control indoor humidity levels.
Contrary to what you might think, your air conditioner doesn’t increase cool, dry air in your home—it eliminates heat and humidity. The process necessitates refrigerant, which stores heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:
Running the air conditioner may be sufficient to bring the relative humidity under 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, try again with these tips.
Turn on 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 a cooler temperature. You can also open a window when it’s milder outside to allow in fresh air.
Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors increase indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold growth. Clean up standing water promptly to prevent these problems.
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 every room more comfortable. A whole-house unit can even function independently of the AC to remove humidity on more temperate days without turning on the air conditioner. This method saves you money and doesn’t leave you with that “cool but clammy” feeling.
The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and drip away. If you use the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture will blow back into your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to set 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.
An obstructed air filter traps dust and debris and can harbor mold and mildew if it gets wet. This adds more moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter every month or as suggested by the manufacturer to decrease indoor humidity and enhance air quality.
Optimizing the fan speed can be tricky. Higher airflow helps the AC meet your cooling demand on the hottest days, but this can result in shorter cycles that block effective dehumidification. Coordinate with an HVAC technician to help you select the best fan speed for your comfort needs.
A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify efficiently. If your air conditioner is having trouble maintaining the set temperature, call our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.
A depleted supply of refrigerant can impair your air conditioner’s ability to perform its job. Left ignored, major issues including a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure can develop. Only a qualified HVAC technician can solve refrigerant leaks and refresh the system as required, offering you another reason to arrange an AC tune-up.
If your home has consistent comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, 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 perfect amount of refrigerant based on the air temperature, and a variable blower motor increases or decreases the fan speed to suit demand. Both features improve cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.
If you believe it’s time to put in a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC services are tailored to optimize home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To ask questions or request a visit from one of our experienced heating and cooling technicians, please give us a call today.
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