In Oregon, indoor humidity can get quite high during the rainy season. Ideally, relative humidity in your home should be from 30% to 50%. Any higher and it can create an environment that supports dust mites and, if it goes above 70%, mold and mildew might grow. These can exacerbate allergies and asthma. Fortunately, you can use your AC to lower indoor humidity.
Set the Fan to AUTO
As the refrigerant coils in your air conditioner absorb heat and moisture, cold air is blown in. The moisture stays behind and collects on the coils. If you keep the fan set to ON, the moisture will continue to be blown back inside. Setting it to AUTO allows the AC to shut off between cooling cycles. The condensation on the coils can then drain properly, rather than contribute to the humidity level inside your home.
Adjust Fan Speed
An AC doesn’t remove moisture as effectively at higher fan settings. Cooler air moves into your home more quickly, but this doesn’t allow humidity to be removed effectively. At lower speeds, a lower rate of airflow results in a colder indoor coil, which removes more moisture and maintains temperature settings more effectively.
Change the Filter Regularly
A clogged filter not only increases the risk of exposure to dust and debris. It can also trap moisture and cause it to collect in the ducts. The result can be increased indoor humidity and the growth of mold and airborne bacteria that can be harmful to your health. In general, AC filters should be cleaned or changed once a month.
Clean the Coils
A dirty coil is less capable of removing heat and humidity. As a result, your home won’t get as cool and moisture may build up indoors. Dirty coils can be the result of a clogged filter, in which case the blower fan draws particulates into the system. To prevent this, follow the AC manufacturer’s guidelines in cleaning the coils.
Install a Whole-House Dehumidifier
By running your air conditioner and a dehumidification system together, the moisture in your indoor air can be significantly reduced. A whole-house dehumidifier can reduce the demand on an AC, so it doesn’t have to remove as much moisture by itself.
Keep the Refrigerant Full
Check the refrigerant charge from time to time. If it runs low, heat or humidity may not be removed effectively. Serious issues such as a frozen coil or compressor failure can result when this is left unchecked.
Use a Thermal Expansion Valve
A thermal expansion valve, or TXV, opens and closes to adjust the amount of refrigerant. The system gets just as much as it needs depending on the temperature. In effect, a TXV increases the evaporator coil’s capacity to remove heat and humidity in a range of conditions.
There are other ways to enable your air conditioner to lower humidity levels. By improving ventilation, controlling moisture sources in basements and crawl spaces, and adjusting your habits by, for example, taking shorter showers, you can reduce humidity and enable your AC to do so more reliably.
Contact Us for Help
If indoor humidity has become a problem in your home or business, contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning for in-home consultations and recommendations. We help customers throughout Portland and The Dalles, OR, and Southwest Washington with improving indoor comfort. Our team of professional technicians installs quality products, helps improve efficiency, and provides service 24/7. For help, get in touch or schedule your appointment online, or call us directly at 503-235-9083, today!