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Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify?

The summer heat is on its way, and with it the inevitable humidity. You might be wondering if your air conditioner can help you battle the moisture in the air. The answer is yes, but only to a certain degree. Douglas Cooling & Heating explains how do air conditioners dehumidify your air as well as what cooling system problems may be present if you notice high humidity in your home.

How Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify Air?

Your central air conditioner works by removing heat from the indoor air in order to lower the air’s temperature. As indoor air flows through the system and passes over the evaporator coils. The refrigerant inside the evaporator coils absorbs heat, resulting in lower air temperature.

The process of cooling air causes moisture to condense. As air temperature drops, it isn’t able to hold as much water vapor. This vapor condenses into liquid on the evaporator coils and the excess moisture falls out of suspension, draining out of your air conditioner. The air conditioner’s ability to dehumidify is a natural perk. But air conditioning units aren’t always able to provide all the dehumidification needed to effectively manage indoor relative humidity levels in the summer. 

Does High Humidity Indoors Indicate the Need for Air Conditioner Repairs?

Most people think of an air conditioning unit as a device that generates cooled air, but it plays an important role in managing humidity levels, too. An air conditioner’s ability to dehumidify is often adequate when outdoor humidity levels are low, but it may be necessary to add a whole-house dehumidifier in a frequently humid climate. 

If your home feels excessively humid even while you run your AC unit, this could also be a sign of a problem with your cooling system. If you suspect that your air conditioner is not dehumidifying properly, it may be necessary to have repairs performed so that the system can function more efficiently or you may need to replace the entire unit.

Here are some of the possible problems that may be present when you notice increasingly warm and humid air in your home:

Frozen Evaporator Coils

The air conditioner’s evaporator coils can freeze, which will restrict how well your air conditioner can dehumidify. These coils can freeze up for various reasons, including:


  • Poor airflow through the unit. Often caused by a dirty air filter.
  • Dirt and grime cover the surface of the evaporator coils, due to a lack of maintenance.
  • Low refrigerant in the system. Commonly caused by a refrigerant leak.

If you suspect your evaporator coils have iced over, turn off the system and open the access panel on the indoor unit to inspect them. Leave the cooling system off and thaw the coils. Turn on the system fan to help speed up the process. While the coils thaw, check the air filter and install a new one if needed. If you skipped your air conditioner’s preventative maintenance tune-up this year, schedule one now so the coils can be cleaned.

Duct Leaks

If you’re having problems with humidity, your ducts may be at fault. Leaks in your air ducts can allow more humidity to enter your home’s air supply, overwhelming the AC’s ability to dehumidify. Have your ducts inspected and repaired to seal up any leaks in order to prevent excess humidity from entering your home’s HVAC system?

Air Conditioner Replacement

Unfortunately, if your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it may not be providing you with the dehumidification power you need. This is because air conditioning units wear out over time and lose their ability to properly function.

Air conditioners that struggle to dehumidify are common when the unit is too big for the home. With an oversized air conditioner, the cooling cycles are too short to allow for proper dehumidification. Whether your unit is too old or too big, replacing the air conditioner can correct these humidity problems and help improve your comfort level indoors.

Air Conditioner Repairs in Birmingham, AL

How air conditioners dehumidify goes hand in hand with the cooling process. If you’re noticing high humidity levels in your home, it is time to call for air conditioner repairs. Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating today to schedule repairs, maintenance, or replacement for your home’s air conditioning system.

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