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Dowd Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Does an AC Do Enough to Control Indoor Humidity?

humidity-on-window

The answer to the question in the title depends on how much humidity your home deals with during the summer. If you don’t normally experience extremely high indoor humidity (relative humidity higher than 70%, although some people find more than 60% uncomfortable), then your AC will be able to keep you cool and happy. The air conditioner is not exactly controlling the humidity—although it’s doing some dehumidification—but it doesn’t have to work hard against humidity to deliver a comfortable environment for your house.

If high humidity is a problem you often encounter during warm weather, then it’s unlikely your AC can do much about it. It can provide cooling, but it won’t make a noticeable effect on humidity because an air conditioning system isn’t equipped to do that job. 

How an AC Affects Humidity

Here is the important part of what you need to know about your AC vs. humidity: an air conditioner does remove some water moisture from the air that it cools, but this is a side effect of how it operates, not one of its goals. An AC evaporates cold refrigerant along its indoor evaporator coil, and this pulls heat from the air to create the cooling that you and your family enjoy on hot days. The evaporation also causes moisture in the air to condense along the evaporator coil. This is similar to the condensation you see along the outside of a cold beverage container on a hot day. 

This moisture the AC draws from the air isn’t enough to make a noticeable impact on the humidity levels in a house. The volume of water the air conditioner removes through the condensate drainage system (that’s what is at work when you hear the water moving inside the AC) is minor compared to what you would need if you wanted to lower 70% relative humidity down to a recommended 45%. The only humidity effect you may detect from your air conditioning system is if it starts to fail—you’ll feel an increase in indoor humidity along with the higher temperatures.

How You Can Control High Humidity

There are several methods to reduce indoor humidity and make it easier to stay cool—as well as give your AC a break. (With balanced humidity, you can set the thermostat several degrees warmer and save energy.)

Some air conditioning systems have humidity controls built into them that allow them to remove larger amounts of water moisture. If you don’t plan to purchase a new air conditioning system in the near future, you also have the option of installing a whole-house dehumidifier. This air quality system is like an AC that only removes humidity: it also circulates refrigerant to draw out moisture, but it reheats the air to ensure it doesn’t upset the cooling balance of the actual AC.

If you want to find out more about whole-house dehumidifiers and other options for better indoor air quality in Hatboro, PA, our team is happy to help.

Schedule service with Dowd Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning: A Degree Above the Rest.

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