Air conditioners cool the air in your home by removing heat. But having cooler air doesn’t mean it’s less humid. To address this, an AC system removes humidity by collecting and draining the condensation that forms from water vapor in the air. We’ll now take a closer look at this process to answer the question “How does an AC remove humidity?” from your home.
How Humidity Works
Humidity is how much water vapor there is in the air; the warmer the air, the more water vapor it can hold. Ideally, the indoor humidity level should be between 30% and 50%. The percentage is the relative humidity, or the amount of water vapor air contains compared to how much it can hold at a given temperature (absolute humidity measures the actual amount of vapor present regardless of temperature).
Too much humidity in your home can damage paint and wallpaper, cause water stains, and lead to mold. While water molecules move more quickly at higher temperatures, preventing condensation, they slow down when it gets cooler, causing condensation to form. This is significant when you consider how air conditioners operate.
Air Conditioners and Humidity
Warmer indoor air is drawn into vents and registers, through return ducts, and over the evaporator coil. The refrigerant in the coil absorbs heat that is then released as the coolant passes through the condenser coil. As the cooled refrigerant passes back to the evaporator coil, condensation forms as the warm air from in your home blows over it. As air around the evaporator coil cools, condensation forms.
Your air conditioning system has a condensate pan below the evaporator coil that is connected to a drain line. The humidity in your home becomes condensed water on the coil, which then drops down and collects in the pan. To prevent it from overflowing, a drain pipe funnels the water outside. This is the answer to, “How does an AC remove humidity?”
How Much Moisture Can an AC Remove from the Air?
That depends on the air conditioner. A few factors that affect its ability to remove humidity include its type, condition, age, and size (see more about choosing the right-sized AC). A well-maintained air conditioner will more effectively lower humidity. The current humidity level can have an impact as well. If the humidity in your home is higher than usual, an AC can struggle to keep it in a comfortable range.
Why Must an AC Remove Moisture?
Excess humidity can lead to a bunch of problems. One of them is humidity retains heat, so the more humid your indoor air is, the harder your AC must work to cool things down. It’s also going to struggle to remove all the moisture. The air in your home will feel clammy, even if it does get cooler. Therefore, high humidity can compromise your comfort and strain your HVAC system.
How Does an AC Remove Humidity When Your Home Is Too Humid?
Some homes are just more naturally humid, even if the air conditioner is working fine. Plumbing leaks, long showers, and running laundry and dishwashers frequently can lead to higher humidity. If your AC needs assistance in removing it, you can install a room or whole-house dehumidifier, ventilate your home by opening a window or installing an exhaust fan, or regularly wiping down excess water.
Have High Indoor Humidity? Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
If your air conditioner isn’t regulating humidity levels, it may need to be repaired. Our licensed AC technicians are trained to troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair any air conditioner struggling to remove moisture. Whether there’s a frozen coil or a clogged drain line, we can fix it fast. Join our maintenance plan for priority service, discounts, and other benefits. To learn more about or schedule heating and cooling services in the Portland area, call 503-673-9083 today.