As most of us know, air conditioners cool your home by blowing cool air into it, but is that all they do? If you live in a hot and humid region, you might be wondering if your air conditioner unit will reduce the humidity in your home as well.
The good news is that most modern air conditioners do remove humidity in addition to cooling. Here’s everything you need to know to ensure your air conditioner does the best possible job.
How does an air conditioner remove humidity?
As explained by David Gray Heating and Air your HVAC system likely has an evaporator coil that condenses water vapor from the air. This is similar to when condensation appears on the outside of a glass containing a cold beverage on a hot day.
When the hot moist air in your home comes in contact with the cold evaporator coil, condensation occurs, turning the moisture into liquid and making your home less humid. The moisture collected by the evaporator coil then goes into a drain that leads outside.
This process is also important for the efficient working of your air conditioner. If the air in your home is very moist, the air conditioner will have to work harder to cool the space. However, if the humidity is removed, the air conditioner unit will work more efficiently
Is your air conditioner not doing a good job of removing the humidity from your home? If you have a modern system, there are some reasons why this could be happening and things you can do to improve its performance.
Reasons for air conditioner under performance
As noted by Arista Air there are five main reasons why your air conditioner unit might not be effectively removing humidity. They include:
Your air conditioner is too big (powerful) for the space – this will cause the unit to cool the room too quickly and it will turn on and off frequently, which means it won’t constantly remove humidity from the air.
It can only run at a single speed – this means that the air conditioner will turn on and off a lot, and when it’s off it won’t remove humidity from the air.
Negative air pressure – if you are venting too much air from your space, the air will try to balance itself by drawing in as much outside air as possible (when someone opens a door for example) this means that large amounts of outside air will come into the space, making it hard for the AC unit to keep up.
You’re using the wrong thermostat setting – you may feel like the “fan on” setting will help you cool your space more efficiently, but it will actually increase the humidity of the room as the unit may blow the moisture it has collected back into the room.
You have an older unit – if your unit is old it may simply not be able to run efficiently anymore.
If none of these factors are causing your problem, or if you’d simply like to improve the efficiency of your air conditioner even further, try these measures as suggested by Arista Air.
Clean the condenser coils – if the coils are grimy, they will likely not do a good job at removing humidity from the air.
Do preventative maintenance – even if your air conditioner is working fine it is good to have a preventative maintenance plan in place. If your unit is regularly checked and fixed when needed, you can rest assured it will always perform well.
Adjust the airflow – a technician might be able to adjust the airflow of your system to make the evaporator coil cooler, which will make it condense moisture better.
If all else fails
If you’ve tried all the measures noted above and your air conditioner is still not removing enough humidity from the air, it might be time to consider getting a dehumidifier.
As explained by ComfortPro, an air conditioner’s main function is to cool the air, while a dehumidifier’s main function is to remove moisture. It does this by pulling air into the system, cooling it, heating it again, and then dispelling the moisture into a bucket or drainage system.
Whether you need a dehumidifier will depend on the average humidity levels in your town. If you live somewhere with an average humidity of over 50% all year long, you likely need one. If you decide to go this route, you will have a range of options, including getting a portable dehumidifier (this works best for houses of less than 3,000 square feet) and installing a dehumidifying heat pipe.
So, in short, air conditioners do remove humidity and are more than sufficient for homes with moderate moisture levels. If your air conditioner is not doing a good job of this, investigate and make some improvements! Your family will be much more comfortable as a result. And remember, if all else fails, you can always get a dehumidifier too.