How to Control Humidity in your Home Using your Air Conditioner

Written by Amy O'Grady

May 15, 2014

Colorful Beach HouseIf you live in the coastal Northeast Florida area, you know a little something about humidity. While there are benefits galore to living near the ocean and having access to the St. Johns River and a number of smaller rivers and lakes, there also bad hair days aplenty thanks to the high-humidity air that comes off our waters. And during the hot Jacksonville-area summers, that humidity often makes it into our homes.

When trapped indoors, high-moisture air can create conditions that are prime for mold growth, particularly in a structure built with gypsum wall boards, vinyl wall coverings and wooden window casings. And as you probably know, mold can not only do a real number on the structural safety and value of your home, but also can significantly affect your and your family’s health. People with allergies, asthma, immune suppression or an underlying lung disease are susceptible to fungal infections caused by mold exposure. That exposure can boost the risk of respiratory illness even in otherwise healthy children. And though a firm, cause-and-effect link has not yet been scientifically proven, many pediatricians suspect mold exposure may contribute to acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to help keep humidity at bay and prevent mold growth in your home. All you need is a working air conditioning system and a little know-how. Charlie’s Tropic Heating and Air Conditioning offers these tips for using your AC system to reduce indoor humidity:

  • Leave your thermostat fan setting on the auto position. This allows for your AC system to run the fan only when necessary to keep your home’s indoor air at the temperature you choose, and allows for condensation that collects on the evaporator coil to drain out of the unit as intended. Leaving your thermostat fan setting in the on position instead causes that condensation to be blow back into circulation, allowing for persistent humidity.
  • Change your AC filter at least once a month. AC filters are designed to capture and contain tiny particles of dirt, dust, pet dander and debris that can otherwise float around your home, decreasing your indoor air quality. But when a filter is clogged, it can instead trap moisture inside the air conditioning ducts, leading to the cultivation of mold and other harmful airborne bacteria;
  • Get your AC system serviced once a year. Annual air conditioning maintenance allows technicians to spot potential problems that can cause high humidity and other troubles early on – before they lead to health issues and costly repairs;
  • Use your AC in conjunction with a whole-house dehumidifier to significantly reduce the amount of moisture in your home’s air;
  • If you’re building a new home or in the market for a replacement AC system, understand that bigger isn’t necessarily better. Instead, let a trained technician help you choose a system that’s properly sized for your home to more effectively remove and control indoor air moisture.

To schedule routine AC maintenance or to purchase a newer, more efficient AC system in Northeast Florida,call Charlie’s Tropic Heating and Air Conditoning at 904-685-8937.

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  1. Jim Kelly

    what should I set the humistat at during the summer months

    • Amy O'Grady

      Electrical Companies recommend 78 degrees for efficiency. Some find that temperature to be too warm. So keep in mind your personal comfort level as well.

  2. Diann

    My apartments humidity varies from 60-78% and that is with an indoor temperature of 62-66. I keep it cool for medical reasons. Maintenance doesn’t seem to care but I think this is not good for me. Any suggestions?

    • Amy O'Grady

      In your particular case the a/c could be doing all it can to remove the humidity. Not seeing the system we can’t tell for sure. You can always purchase a stand alone dehumidifier to correct the humidity problem.

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