The heat and the humidity in the summer both contribute to your discomfort. Air conditioners help to cool your home, but do they also remove humidity? Yes, when working properly, an air conditioner should also remove humidity. However, a broken humidifier may do the opposite and actually worsen the air quality in your home. Here’s how the air conditioner should work, how it might cause excess humidity, and what you can do if your home’s humidity levels are too high.
How Air Conditioners Remove Humidity
Air conditioners use refrigerant to move heat out of your home. The refrigerant absorbs heat and then releases it outside in the outdoor portion of the air conditioner. However, few people realize that as the refrigerant absorbs heat, it also absorbs moisture. When an air conditioner is working properly, it will drain that moisture out of the air into a drain line and out of your home.
An air conditioner has a moderate effect on humidity. However, in very humid climates or in the peak of summer, you may need more humidity control to keep your home comfortable.
Potential Moisture Problems with Air Conditioners
If there is a problem with your air conditioner, it can develop moisture issues and lower the air quality in your home. Here are a few potential causes:
- Drain line leaks: Your air conditioner is supposed to drain moisture out through the line and into your sewers. However, if there is a hole in the line, or it has become disconnected from the air conditioner, then the condensate is free to spill on the floor. This leak can cause water damage and contribute to your humidity problem as that water gets reabsorbed in the air.
- Condensate pan problems: Many air conditioners have long pans where the condensate collects before it drains out of your home. If your air conditioner hasn’t been maintained by a professional in some time, this pan may not have been cleaned. It may develop mold, bacteria growth, or just crack and leak. Both problems undermine the air quality in your home.
- Drain line clogs: The drain line can also develop a clog, commonly if debris gets stuck in it, or if the line gets crimped between a wall and another appliance or object in your home. In this case, the condensate has no choice but to overflow out of the pan. This can cause moisture damage to your air conditioner and anything else nearby. It will also contribute to humidity problems.
How to Combat High Humidity
Those who have high humidity in their homes over the summer may notice that it exaggerates their discomfort in the heat, especially if they have breathing conditions. Your air conditioner, even when working perfectly, may not be enough to solve your humidity issues. Instead, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier. This dedicated appliance can remove much more moisture from your air and actually fix the problem for the long term.
Which dehumidifier will remove enough moisture from your home? Your HVAC professionals can help you choose one.