When you hear the term humidity, you may instantly think of frizzy hair and a stuffy climate. While humidity can result in these things, it’s not all bad news; water in the air plays a crucial role in our atmosphere.
That said, excess humidity can cause issues, not just for your hair but for your home too. Typically a humidity level of 30% to 50% is recommended, especially during hot summer months.
How do you maintain the right humidity levels in your house? Does an air conditioner remove humidity from the indoor air of a home? Fortunately, yes! While there are many remedies to overly humid living spaces, air conditioners can often assist with lowering the humidity levels in a house.
But how does an air conditioner remove humidity from your indoor air? Read below to find out.
How does AC reduce humidity levels in your home?
Before understanding how an air conditioner can remove humidity from your home, it’s good to know how AC units work. Most air conditioners use a forced air system that delivers cool air to different rooms using ductwork and vents.
Air first enters the AC unit through an outdoor component of the system. The air is then taken to the evaporator coil, which contains refrigerant responsible for cooling. The refrigerant changes state from gas to liquid and back as the cooling process occurs. The air only ends up in the ductwork and vents of your home after it has been cooled.
Not only does an air conditioner eliminate hot air, but it also reduces humidity. During the cooling process, the AC unit takes the moisture out of the air that enters your home. This is especially important on those hot summer days when the air outside is muggy.
An air conditioner’s ability to blow cool, dry air into your home will depend on its condition. A modern and well-serviced AC unit will be more efficient than an out-of-date and poorly maintained unit. This is why a proper seasonal tune-up by a licensed technician is necessary before switching the AC on for the summer.
Keeping your home’s humidity level between 30% to 50% will keep your house comfortable and prevent mold and mildew from growing. However, while an air conditioner can eliminate excess humidity from your home, it might not always be sufficient. If you live in a region with higher humidity levels, you might need to consider installing a portable or whole-house dehumidifier.
How much humidity does an air conditioner remove?
Does an air conditioner remove humidity? Yes, it does! But how much?
The rate of humidity removal depends on how humid the air is. The amount can range anywhere from 5 to 20 gallons of water per day, but as mentioned earlier, it’s wise to add a dehumidifier to the mix in regions with high humidity,
How to use AC to lower humidity at home
As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to use an AC to lower humidity levels at home. How does an AC remove humidity most effectively? When it’s in proper working condition! Read below for tips on how to keep your AC unit in tip-top shape.
1. Check the refrigerant
One of the top ways to ensure your air conditioner removes the most humidity from the air is by topping off the refrigerant.
Always have an expert assess the current levels and give you a top-up if necessary. If you can’t remember the last time you had a qualified HVAC technician look at your air conditioning unit, it may be time for an HVAC maintenance check-up.
Remember, the refrigerant’s job is to eliminate warmth and moisture from the air. If the refrigerant is low, this will affect your AC unit’s capacity to reduce humidity levels and cool your air effectively.
2. Clean the evaporator coils
Another important job for an HVAC professional is cleaning your air conditioner’s evaporator coil. A dirty coil will limit the functions of the refrigerant, and warm air will be pushed through the ductwork into your home.
3. Change the air filter
Although it may not always be visible, air that enters your home from the outdoors has dirt and dust in it. This is where the AC air filter comes in handy. Air filters trap dust, dirt and allergens to prevent them from entering your home.
Additionally, the air filter prevents dirt and dust from coating the evaporator coil. Regular AC maintenance includes changing the air filter to ensure your AC functions properly and efficiently.
4. Choose the ‘AUTO’ setting
Whether your AC unit is older or new, you likely have a few different settings available. On hot and humid summer days, it’s better to keep the AC set on AUTO.
As the hot and humid air passes the coils, the coils collect moisture and cool the air down before it blows into your home. The ‘AUTO’ setting ensures a break between cycles to allow moisture to drain from the AC.
Try your best to refrain from running your AC continuously, regardless of how hot it is. Breaks ensure the condensate drains through the drain line into the drain pan.
5. Select a lower speed
How does AC lower humidity with a lower fan speed? Besides setting the fan on ‘AUTO,’ selecting a lower speed is also a good idea to give the system time to complete the process. A higher speed will cool your home faster, but it won’t effectively remove humidity from the air. Choosing a lower speed will enable the AC to remove as much humidity as possible.
What if your air conditioner alone isn’t enough?
Apart from using an air conditioner, another great way to lower humidity levels in a room is investing in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is a device made to remove excess moisture from the air. Often, regions with high humidity levels will require more than just an AC unit to maintain a comfortable indoor climate.
Having a humid environment in your home can affect your home environment, and lead to or exacerbate existing issues with your health. This is why it’s essential to control humidity indoors, especially during summer.
Mold and mildew thrive in humid conditions and release spores into the air. Mold growth can cause symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, itchiness, coughing, and respiratory problems, especially for those with asthma. Also, mold and mildew can compromise your home’s structural integrity.
Fortunately, a dehumidifier will remove the excess moisture in the air to prevent and even stop mold and mildew from growing. Dehumidifiers come in many different types, including portable or whole-house options.
If you want more information on how your AC system can balance the humidity in your home, or you’re interested in installing a dehumidifier, contact us today. One of our professional technicians will get you the assistance you need so you can be comfortable in your own home.