How Should You Use Your AC In Humid Conditions?

Posted on: 10 September 2021

Your air conditioner's primary job is to keep your home cool, but it also dehumidifies the air in your house. The dehumidification process is a side effect of how your air conditioner operates, but it's also essential for efficient and reliable operation. Humid air tends to feel warmer and less comfortable, forcing you to turn down your thermostat and potentially overwork your air conditioner.

Fortunately, high humidity shouldn't typically affect your air conditioner, but you may have to adjust how you use your system. These three tips will help you get the most out of your air conditioning during humid conditions without sending your energy bills through the roof.

1. Don't Touch That Thermostat!

High humidity is often much more uncomfortable than high temperatures, and many people instinctively reach for the thermostat when the humidity starts climbing. Before you turn down your thermostat, take a look at the temperature that it's reporting. If the temperature at your thermostat is equal to your setpoint, then your system is adequately cooling your home.

Turning your thermostat down might provide some temporary relief, but you'll force your air conditioner to work much harder. Even worse, you may find that the air is still much too humid when you reach your lower setpoint. Turning your thermostat down should be your last resort, especially if you're trying to conserve energy or keep your utility bills down.

2. Check Your Fan Settings

While you shouldn't adjust your temperature, you should check your thermostat's fan settings. During periods of high heat or humidity, make sure you set your fan to "auto." The auto setting ensures that the fan only runs with the compressor. If you run your blower all the time, you won't give time for condensation to drain away from your evaporator coil.

Allowing too much moisture to build up in your system can lead to mold growth, ice on the evaporator, and other severe problems. If you're experiencing excess humidity, always check your fan setting first to avoid these potentially severe issues.

3. Use Dry Mode (If Available)

Some central air conditioning systems have a "dry" mode. When running in this mode, your compressor operates at a lower power setting to dehumidify the air without significantly reducing the temperature. This mode isn't appropriate when it's hot outside (since you need your AC to cool your house!), but it's helpful when conditions are cool and clammy.

If your system doesn't have a dry mode and you find humidity levels unacceptable in cooler weather, investing in a whole-home dehumidifier may be worthwhile. These units can work with your air conditioner to help keep moisture levels under control, so your home remains more comfortable.