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Does an Air Conditioner Affect Humidity Levels in Your Home?

3435792255_356853e592_mIt certainly gets hot during summer here in the St. Louis area, but things are much more uncomfortable when humidity levels are high as well. This is true not only outside, but also in your home. Although it’s obvious that your air conditioner lowers the temperature in your home, it’s not so obvious whether or not your cooling system does anything to handle high humidity levels. Today we’re going to clear the air by answering the question, “Does an air conditioner affect humidity levels in your home?”

 

What is high humidity?

 

Before we talk about whether or not your air conditioner affects your home’s humidity levels, it’s important to know what it actually means to have high humidity in your home. Humidity is a measurement of the amount of moisture in the air. The more moisture that’s in your home’s air, the higher your humidity levels will be. High humidity is not only uncomfortable, but it can also make you sick and cause damage to your home.

 

Does an air conditioner affect humidity levels?

 

One of the best things about air conditioners is that they not only cool your home down, but they reduce humidity levels as well! Let’s take a look at how this works.

 

When your air conditioner is running, warm and humid air from your home is blown over your system’s evaporator coils. When this happens, heat from your home’s air is transferred to the refrigerant inside of the coils and carried out of your home. At the same time that this heat transfer takes place, the moisture in your home’s air condenses and drips off of those coils.

 

This process is just like what happens when you bring a cold can of soda outside on a hot day: hot and moist air comes into contact with the cold evaporator coils and condensation builds up on the coils and drips off, just like water dripping on the sides of a can. This removal of moisture effectively lowers your home’s humidity levels. In fact, depending on how hot and humid it is outside, your air conditioner can remove anywhere between 5 and 20 gallons of water from your home’s air per day!

 

How can you help your air conditioner reduce humidity levels effectively?

 

    • Ensure your system is sized properly. An air conditioner can only reduce humidity levels while it is operating. If your system is too big for your home, its cooling cycles will be too brief and it won’t operate long enough to effectively reduce your home’s humidity levels. Always work with a trusted contractor like Jerry Kelly for your air conditioner installations to ensure your system is sized properly for your home.

 

    • Use bathroom and kitchen vents. Bathrooms and kitchens are two rooms that can produce a lot of excess humidity. By running your ventilation fans while you are showering and cooking, you can help reduce humidity at the source and let your air conditioner worry about the natural humidity that’s already present in your home.

 

    • Get tune-ups and change your filter. When moisture is removed from your home’s air, it drips into a condensate pan under your evaporator coils and is drained out of your home. Your condensate drain can get clogged if it’s not well maintained or if your home’s air is dirty, which is why it’s important to schedule annual tune-ups and change your filter every month. This will ensure that condensation is properly drained away and that your system doesn’t develop a water leak.

 

If you have any questions about your air conditioner’s effects on humidity, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis air conditioning contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like Maryland Heights, O’Fallon and St. Charles, MO.

 

photo credit: cmatsuoka via photopin (license)