Do Air Conditioners Remove Humidity? Lower Humidity For Better Comfort

You know exactly how humidity makes you feel. It is the icky, muggy feeling that does not let you allow to cool off your sweat. It is almost like torture, especially if you are stuck at home and every move you make makes you more and more uncomfortable. But do air conditioners remove humidity?

Air conditioners do a great job of removing humidity from your home. If you live in an area where you constantly have high humidity and it is just too hot, fanning yourself or relying on occasional fresh air that comes through the window may not be enough. This is where air conditioners save the day!

do air conditioners remove humidity

But, why is it so important to reduce humidity? How will an air conditioner solve this problem? Will circulating the air help to lower the humidity? What if you already have your air conditioning on, yet your home still feels irritatingly humid? Is an air conditioner the only thing you'll need to remove humidty?

Continue reading to find out the answers.

The Benefits of Lower Humidity

While the most noticeable effect of excessive levels of moisture in your home is the lack of comfort indoors, there are other crucial reasons why you always need to keep humidity in check.

  1. Less condensation, less mold growth. There is no need to tell you that mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria inside your home are bad news. These microorganisms are not just eye sores but they produce harmful organic compounds as they grow. Mold releases spores, fragments, and cells that mix in with the air. If a person with high sensitivity to these airborne toxins gets exposed, respiratory illnesses may be triggered. A mold-infested house also gives off this stale, wet-sock odor.  

Since mold and its peers grow and thrive in damp environments, the key to eliminating them is to remove moisture, at least to a point that areas in your home become inhabitable for them. 

  1. Reduce moisture, fewer allergies. A high level of moisture in the air can prevent a person from evaporating sweat, thus inducing further perspiration. Because of excessive perspiring, sweat glands may be clogged. This could lead to atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, and other skin irritations.

Incidentally, mold and mildew are not the only ones that enjoy places with too much condensation, dust mites also flourish in humidity. These super tiny insects don’t bite or suck blood from our skin, but they can trigger severe allergies through their bodily wastes and carcasses if we inhale them.

The same logic applies that if there is less dampness in the air, these allergens will be reduced as well. 

  1. Eliminate humid air, better indoor air quality. When you imagine breathing high-quality air inside your house, you may automatically think of it as pollutant-free. And you are partially right. Indoor air contaminants such as asbestos, carbon monoxide, pesticides, and other biological and chemical pollutants should be eliminated to make your home a healthy breathing space.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality is the relationship between the quality of air in a building and the health and comfort of its residents. Clearly, it is not only essential for the air in your home to be physically safe and healthy, but it also must satisfy your need for comfort. 

If the heat and humidity in your house are too high, the sweat in your body has nowhere to go but makes you more uncomfortable and irritated every passing minute. 

Since climate change has made the world so much hotter, and there are indeed places that are humid without the global warming’s contribution, we turn to technology for help.

How exactly does air conditioning solve this extra humid home problem? Let’s find out.  

How Does an Air Conditioner Remove Humidity?

We all know air conditioners as part of the HVAC team that brings on the cool and gets us through the worst of the summers. But its less known as a way to remove excess humidity from your house.

How an air conditioning unit accomplishes these two vital tasks is pretty cool. As the AC unit draws in the warm air from the rooms, it passes over the evaporator coils. These coils circulate a  working fluid called refrigerant to absorb the heat from the indoor air. 

But in the same process, the water from the air gets extracted and drained because of the sudden dip in the temperature. The excess humidity condensates and the water produced is now directed through the drain pan or pipe leading it away from your home.

The resulting air that your AC produced is now cooler and drier than when it came in. Pretty cool, right?

Does Circulating Air Reduce Humidity In My Home?

Circulating air will not reduce the humidity in your home.

Removing heat and humidity takes a mechanical device like your air conditioner or dehumidifier. But air movement does have it's place.

Constant air movement will help an area feel more comfortable than when it is stagnant. A great way to ensure that the airflow is moving is the installation and use of floor or ceiling fans. Even if your AC is set at a higher temperature, running a fan with it will provide comfort as if it is on a lower temperature setting. 

If the heat was not that bad and you care to turn off your AC, you may even try opening up some doors and windows to improve the circulation of indoor air and depending on the outdoor conditions, possibly bring down the humidity. This may even help you save a few bucks off your electric bill.

Why Is My House So Humid With The AC On?

What if your air conditioning system is running full-on, yet your house still feels clammy because of humidity? You may want to look into if there are maintenance issues with your AC unit.

Dirty

This may sound so basic but a dirty air conditioner performs poorly at eliminating heat and humidity. If the condenser coil is grimy, the removal of heat will be choked, ultimately affecting the air conditioning system’s job of cooling and dehumidifying the indoor air. 

Not to confuse with the evaporator coil, the condenser coil is found on the outdoor component of the AC which is why it is prone to muck and debris. Schedule regular cleaning and maintenance for your AC to make sure your condenser coil is dirt-free.

Fan speed to high

As discussed earlier, installation and use of fans indoors can increase airflow and help evaporate humidity quite faster. However, it is a different story when it comes to the blower fan.

If the fan is set too high or left on even when the AC has shut off, the moisture can be blown back inside your house and contribute to the high humidity! 

You see, the air conditioner cycles on and off as it strives to maintain your desired temperature. If the fan speed is on high and yet there is no refrigerant running to condensate the liquid, the blower will keep on putting the humid air back into your room.

It is best to slow down the fan speed or set it as “AUTO” so that the water collected will drain properly. If your fan does not seem to adjust to your liking, schedule routine services and repair with an HVAC professional.

Low on refrigerant

The refrigerant (popularly known as Freon) is the fascinating element of air conditioning that removes the heat and humidity from the air in your living spaces. Without it, there is nothing to absorb the dampness from the drawn air, leaving you feeling sweaty and irritable.

Since refrigerant can switch back and forth between liquid and gas depending on its stage in the cooling process, it is supposed to last forever! The most common and the ONLY reason why an air conditioning system runs out of Freon is if the piping developed a leak.

Immediately call a trusted HVAC technician to detect any leak and repair air conditioning issues before they get serious.

Air Conditioner Is Too Large For Home

Some people decide to get an AC that is too big for the room it is supposed to cool thinking it would accomplish the job much quicker and more efficiently. This is a misguided choice because a cooling unit that is bigger than what is necessary will fail to dehumidify the space.

For air conditioning to achieve the level of agreeable temperature with reduced humidity that you need, it has to complete full cycles. But with a unit that is too large for your abode, the AC will rapidly chill the room without fully eliminating the stale humid air. 

Once you realized that your cooling device is indeed bigger than you need, considering a replacement for your AC may be too expensive an option. It can be remedied by using a dehumidifier alongside air conditioning. You may also want to give an HVAC expert a call to perform the installation of additional plumbing or ductworks in non-air-conditioned rooms to diffuse the dampness.

Needless to say, your air conditioner should be in tip-top shape to deliver maximum efficiency. Any minor systemic or electrical issues should be dealt with quickly with repair and annual service and maintenance.

Install a Whole House Dehumidifier To Remove Excess Moisture

Of course, even though air conditioners can bring the humidity down as it removes heat, getting extra an extra boost from a dehumidifier will be helpful. 

While portable dehumidifiers are great, read here where we explain how whole-house dehumidifiers are four times more powerful and consume less energy. They also require less maintenance and fewer potential calls for repair than stand-alone dehumidifiers.

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ABOUT Robert Bradford

I'm Robert Bradford. I've been in the heating and air conditioning industry for 30 years. Over 40 if you count the years I helped my father as a kid. On this site, I share everything I've learned about finding the best HVAC contractors and equipment for your home. I'm happy to say that over the last few years, The Comfort Academy has grown into a trusted site with thousands of informed site visitors each year.
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