Do Air Conditioners Remove Humidity?

Radiant technician inspecting AC unit in Austin, TX

Summer in San Antonio isn’t just hot, it’s also humid. Humid days are uncomfortable. Luckily, air conditioners do provide us relief by removing some of the humidity from the air. But how much humidity does an air conditioner remove exactly?

If you find that your air conditioner is running, but your house still feels humid, then call Radiant Plumbing and Air. Our HVAC technicians are experts in climate control. Don’t suffer in the heat this summer; call us to repair your air conditioner today.

What Is Humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapor held in the air. Warmer air can possess more water vapor than cold air. At higher temperatures, water molecules move more rapidly, which prevents condensation from occurring. Cooler air doesn’t always mean less humidity, but the humidity levels reflect how much humidity the air could potentially hold.

To understand what humidity is, you need to know the difference between absolute and relative humidity.

  • Absolute Humidity is the measure of the actual amount of water vapor in the air, regardless of the air’s temperature. The higher the amount of water vapor, the higher the absolute humidity.
  • Relative Humidity is the measure of the amount of water vapor that air is holding compared to the amount it can hold at a specific temperature. This is often expressed as a percent. A relative humidity of 50% means the air contains half of the water vapor it could hold at that temperature. If the relative humidity is 100%, it means the air is saturated and the dew point and the air temperature are the same. When the air is saturated, condensation forms usually as fog.

How Does an Air Conditioner Remove Indoor Humidity?

Your air conditioning system works by taking in the indoor air through vents and registers in your home toward the evaporator coil in your A/C unit. The coil contains a cooling chemical called refrigerant. Refrigerant cycles through your air conditioner, changing between a liquid and gaseous form. The refrigerant absorbs the moisture and warmth from the indoor air and transmits it back into your home. The excess condensation collects in the unit’s drain pan and then is funneled outside through a condensate drain pipe.

How Much Humidity Does an A/C Remove?

You want the relative humidity in your home to be between 30-50%. Several factors determine how much humidity your air conditioner can remove, including the current humidity level and the AC system itself. Well-maintained air conditioners can do a good job of removing humidity. However, when the humidity levels are too high, A/Cs can struggle to keep your home’s humidity level at a comfortable range. If you’re finding that your home is too humid, even when the humidity levels are not sky high outside, then call Radiant Plumbing and Air to inspect your A/C system.

Problems Caused If the Humidity in Your Home Is Too High or Too Low

A humid home can promote the growth of mold and mildew. You may also notice condensation on toilet tanks and windows if your home is too humid. A home that isn’t humid enough, meanwhile, can cause dry air, which causes dry skin, sinus issues, and static electricity. This is why the air in your home is dry in the winter because there isn’t enough humidity.

Make sure your home is properly ventilated and that fans in bathrooms and kitchens are working optimally to prevent excess humidity. Dehumidifiers can also help remove humidity in certain rooms, but if you have poor HVAC humidity control, you may want to consider a whole-house dehumidifier.

Call Radiant to Help With Humidity Issues in Your Home

If you have more questions about how humidity can affect your home, talk to the professionals at Radiant Plumbing and Air of San Antonio to see how you can improve the comfort levels in your home.

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