Air Conditioning / August 18, 2020
3 Common Questions About Central Air Conditioners and Humidity
Warm summer days are enjoyable, but high levels of humidity can often ruin otherwise beautiful weather. Your home’s HVAC can help to provide a refuge on humid days, but sometimes you may feel the damp air inside your home as well. Below you will find answers to three common questions about how your AC deals with humidity and why it may fail to do so.
1. How Do Air Conditioners Reduce Humidity?
Dehumidification may seem like a core part of any air conditioning system, but it’s more like a fortunate side effect. Your evaporator coils transfer heat from your home’s interior to the cold refrigerant passing through the system. This transfer occurs as warm air passes over the evaporator, and water vapor condenses onto the coils in the process.
Because of this, your air conditioning system helps to reduce humidity in two ways: by removing existing water vapor and by preventing more moisture from entering the air. Since the conditioned air traveling through your vents is colder, moisture in your home is less likely to enter a vapor state. This effect is why a cold bathroom often feels less humid after a shower than a warm one.
2. Why Does Your Home Feel Humid Even With Air Conditioning?
If air conditioners effectively reduce relative humidity, then you may wonder why your home still feels muggy with the AC turned on. This situation can be especially distressing if your home’s interior is more humid than the outside air. In many cases, high levels of humidity in an air-conditioned home can indicate either an underlying maintenance problem or improper thermostat usage.
Recall that the key to removing humidity from your home’s air is the evaporator coil. If water vapor fails to condense onto the coils, then your air handler will blow moist, uncomfortable air into your vents. Not only does this humid air cause your home to feel less comfortable, but it can also promote mold growth in your ductwork.
When water fails to condense onto the evaporator, it usually means that the compressor isn’t running long enough to remove much moisture from the air. Improper refrigerant pressure may also prevent the coils from removing a sufficient amount of heat from the air. Finally, a fan that runs for too long may continue to drive humid air into your home even when your compressor is not running.
3. What Can You Do to Reduce Humid Conditioned Air?
Humid air is uncomfortable, can lead to mold damage, and is likely a sign of a serious HVAC problem. And if you turn down the thermostat to compensate for uncomfortably humid air, your utility bills may jump up. For these reasons, you should always deal with humidity problems as soon as you can.
An excellent first step to addressing a problem with humid air is to check your thermostat’s fan setting. If your fan runs continuously, it may prevent moisture from fully condensing on the evaporator coils. Use an intermittent fan setting on humid days to noticeably reduce the humidity in your home. Always try this straightforward step before moving on to a more in-depth diagnosis.
If this doesn’t solve your problem, then your system may be short cycling. Short cycling can have several causes ranging from improper system sizing to refrigerant pressure issues. If your compressor is short cycling, then you’ll need a professional to diagnose the problem. Once you resolve the issue, your air conditioner should have no problem keeping your home’s humidity under control.
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