How To Balance Cooling With Maintaining Decent Humidity Levels In Your Home

Posted on: 11 July 2023

Air conditioning is a blessing, allowing you to cool off and stay safe in those hot temperatures. However, refrigerated systems (not swamp coolers) also dehumidify the air, and the resulting humidity levels in your home are a great indication of whether the HVAC system is working well. If there's a change in the normal humidity, then it may be time for HVAC service.

Why Your Air Conditioning Also Dehumidifies

When your air conditioner is running, it sucks in warm air through a large vent (the one with the filter you need to keep changing) and runs it through a circuit that takes it over a set of coils. These are evaporator coils filled with refrigerant that absorb the heat. The refrigerant circulates through the system, turning into gas or liquid at different stages and venting the heat out of the house. Cooler air is returned to the room through an air return, which is that smaller vent you see in your wall or ceiling.

As long as the air conditioning is working properly, cooling the air will also dehumidify it to an extent. As the warm air from your home passes through the system, the cool refrigerant temperature causes the moisture in the warm air to condense and effectively drop out of the flow of air.

What a Change in Humidity in Your House Means

As you use your air conditioner, you'll become familiar with how humid your home feels day to day when the system is running. If, one day, you notice a change in how humid or dry your home seems, you have to investigate two possibilities. One is that the weather outside is extreme, such as being unusually humid or unusually dry. There's not much you can do then other than to run a small dehumidifier if the weather is very humid or use moisturizer and a small humidifier (you can find non-electric paper "humidifiers" that use a glass of water and shouldn't overwhelm your HVAC system).

The other possibility is that your HVAC system has suffered some sort of trouble. There may be a refrigerant leak that affects cooling and thus condensation or the motor may not be working right. It's also possible the thermostat is off, and the system is trying to cool and dehumidify to a colder level than what you're expecting. In those cases, you'd want an HVAC service to take a look.

If you want to help avoid those situations, ensuring your HVAC system is regularly inspected and serviced is essential. A yearly checkup at a minimum can help spot problems before they grow large enough to affect the system's performance. If you haven't been getting these inspections done, contact an HVAC service now to arrange an appointment.