Skip to Content
Serving West Austin & Surrounding Areas

Reducing Indoor Humidity | Humid Even With the AC On?

woman in pain

How To Reduce Humidity At Home – Is Your AC the Answer?

Austin summers are known for three things: heat, humidity, and live music. While the scene attracts both tourists and locals alike, the high humidity levels can make it challenging to enjoy the summer months. Austin’s humid subtropical climate means that the air is often filled with moisture, making it feel even hotter than the actual temperature.
High levels of indoor humidity can cause the air to feel heavy and damp, affecting everyday comfort and rendering the body’s natural cooling mechanism practically useless. In addition to feelings of sluggishness and fatigue, indoor humidity can also promote mold and mildew growth, unpleasant musty odors, and structural damage in your home.

The optimal relative humidity range is around 30 to 50 percent, which can be challenging to maintain during the summer season in Austin. Fortunately, running the air conditioner can be extremely helpful in achieving this ideal range. Let’s discuss how an air conditioner aids in lowering humidity levels and what else you can do to effectively reduce the humidity in your home this summer.

How Do Air Conditioners Reduce Humidity

The cooling process of an air conditioner involves removing heat from the air, which also results in the removal of moisture from the air. As warm, humid air is drawn into the AC unit, it passes over the evaporator coils, where the cold refrigerant absorbs the heat and moisture from the air. This process causes the water vapor in the air to condense into droplets, which are then drained away as liquid. The result is not just cooler but also drier air.

My AC Isn’t Really Helping with the Humidity. How Come?

An AC can reduce indoor humidity, creating a more comfortable environment, improving sleep quality, and reducing the workload on your system. However, there are several factors that can negatively impact your AC’s ability to control humidity in your home.

Improper Unit Sizing
If your AC unit is too small for your home, it may not be able to remove enough moisture from the air to reach the desired humidity level. This can result in a damp, uncomfortable living environment with an increased risk of mold and mildew growth. On the other hand, if your AC unit is too large for your space, it may cool the air too quickly, leading to short cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. To ensure proper humidity control, it’s important to have an AC unit that is appropriately sized for the space it is cooling.

Lack of Maintenance
Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate on your AC unit’s components, such as the evaporator coil and air filter. This affects your air conditioner’s ability to dehumidify the air. When the coil becomes dirty, it cannot efficiently absorb heat and moisture, which can result in reduced cooling and dehumidifying capabilities. This, in turn, leads to increased indoor humidity levels and a damp, uncomfortable living environment. Regularly cleaning or replacing your air filters and scheduling routine tune-ups will ensure your AC’s coils remain clean and air can flow freely.
Additionally, a well-maintained AC unit is less likely to develop the telltale signs associated with skipping maintenance, such as poor cooling, issues with refrigerant, or frozen coils, which can also impact its ability to manage indoor humidity levels.

The Wrong Fan Speed
Lastly, when your AC fan is set to a higher speed, may circulate the air more quickly but can actually reduce the effectiveness of the dehumidification process, since it can cause the AC to cycle on and off more frequently. While high airflow can help keep up with the cooling demand during hot summer days, it may lead to shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. This could make the air in your home feel damp and uncomfortable. Running the fan at a lower speed may help the AC to dehumidify more effectively by allowing it to run longer cycles, which can remove more moisture from the air.
The ideal fan speed for your AC will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your home, the level of humidity, and your personal comfort preferences. A qualified HVAC technician can help you determine the optimal fan speed for your system.

Ways To Enhance Your AC’s Function This Summer

Supplement AC with a Fan
While an air conditioner is designed to cool and dehumidify the air, it may take some time for the cool air to reach every corner of the room. A fan can help to speed up this process by pushing the cooled air around the space. Additionally, a fan can help to create a more even temperature throughout the room, reducing the risk of hot spots or cool spots. This can help to increase comfort levels and reduce the need for the air conditioner to work harder than necessary. By using a fan in conjunction with an air conditioner, you can create a more efficient and effective cooling system that helps to keep indoor humidity levels in check while also maintaining a comfortable temperature.

Consider Adding a Dehumidifier
Adding a dehumidifier in high-humidity areas of your home, such as bathrooms, will further reduce moisture levels in the air. Dehumidifiers work by drawing in moisture from the air, collecting it in a reservoir, and expelling dry air back into the room. By removing excess moisture from the air, a dehumidifier can help to reduce the growth of mold and mildew, prevent musty odors, and create a more comfortable living environment. Many modern dehumidifiers are designed to be energy-efficient, meaning that they won’t significantly impact your electricity bill.

Utilize a Ventilation System
Exhaust fans are a simple and effective way to remove humid air from areas where moisture tends to accumulate, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. By venting the humid air outside, exhaust fans can help to prevent the buildup of moisture in these areas, reducing the risk of mold and mildew growth and improving indoor air quality.
When selecting a ventilation system, it’s important to choose one that is appropriately sized for the space it will be installed in. A fan that is too small for the room won’t be effective at removing moisture, while a fan that is too large may be noisy and energy-inefficient. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the exhaust fan is properly installed and vented to the outside of the home, rather than simply venting to an attic or crawl space, which can lead to additional moisture problems.

Regularly Clean & Maintain Your HVAC System
A well-maintained HVAC system can effectively control indoor humidity levels. Austin-area homeowners should clean or replace air filters regularly and schedule regular maintenance checks with a professional.
A well-maintained HVAC system is crucial for effectively controlling indoor humidity levels. The system’s air filters are responsible for trapping dust, dirt, and other particles from the air. If the filters become clogged or dirty, airflow will be restricted, making it harder for the system to cool the air and control humidity levels. Clean or replace air filters every 1-3 months in the summer to ensure the HVAC system functions optimally. Additionally, schedule a regular maintenance visit to prevent potential issues that can affect the system’s ability to control humidity. A professional HVAC technician will clean and inspect the system’s coils, refrigerant levels, and other components to ensure everything is functioning properly.

I’ve Already Tried All Of That & My AC Just Isn’t Keeping Up

If your home consistently experiences comfort issues and your air conditioner is old, it may be time to consider installing a new unit. New AC units utilize innovative features, such as a thermal expansion valve and variable blower motor, which can significantly enhance cooling and dehumidifying efficiency.
The thermal expansion valve adjusts the amount of refrigerant that enters the evaporator coil based on the temperature of the air passing over it, resulting in more precise and efficient cooling. The variable blower motor adapts the fan speed to match the demand for cooling, helping to maintain a consistent temperature and reducing energy waste. These features work together to enhance the performance of the AC unit and improve indoor comfort.