Your air conditioner will naturally remove humidity from the air as it runs. Your air conditioner cools the air in your home by absorbing heat energy at the evaporator coils. The cold coils allow moisture to condense from the air, dropping the relative humidity and helping to keep your home more comfortable.
If you notice the humidity increasing in your home even while the air conditioning system runs, that's often a sign that there may be a problem. If you've been ignoring excessive humidity in your home, here are three reasons to consider scheduling a consultation with an HVAC contractor.
1. Humidity May Indicate Short Cycling
Short cycling is a common symptom of many different problems with HVAC equipment. Most single-stage home air conditioning systems do not run continuously. Instead, the system only runs long enough to bring the indoor temperature to your thermostat's setpoint. Additionally, the system can only remove humidity from the air as it runs.
High indoor humidity can sometimes be due to short cycling resulting from refrigerant leaks, thermostat problems, or restricted airflow. In addition to increasing humidity levels, short cycling will prevent your system from efficiently controlling temperatures and cause additional wear to your compressor. Resolving the problem will help keep you more comfortable while protecting your AC equipment.
2. Mold Growth Can Become An Issue
Modern homes are well-insulated and rely on HVAC equipment to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. However, maintaining reasonable humidity levels prevents your home from developing serious mold problems. Even if you find higher humidity levels comfortable, it only takes a relative humidity of around 70% for mold to grow indoors.
If your system cannot maintain a lower relative humidity level, you likely have a major issue requiring repair, or your system may be oversized for your needs. Whatever the case, an HVAC professional can investigate the problem and recommend remedies to help control moisture levels and prevent mold growth in your home.
3. Frozen Coils Can Increase Humidity Levels
Sometimes, the problem with your AC system may be more than short cycles that cannot adequately remove moisture. If the temperature at your evaporator coil drops too far, the condensation on the coils may freeze. Frozen coils often occur due to refrigerant leaks or restrictions, and the air passing over the ice can pick up moisture and counteract your AC system's dehumidifying effects.
While the humidity created by a frozen coil can be uncomfortable, the threat of slugging is the more serious problem. Slugging occurs when the evaporator coil cannot absorb enough heat to vaporize refrigerant, allowing liquid refrigerant to return to and damage the compressor. If you're experiencing high humidity due to frozen evaporator coils, it's imperative to fix the problem immediately.
Contact an HVAC repair technician to learn more.