During summer, humidity levels in Vancouver rise significantly outside, and air conditioners play a vital role in protecting homes from it. Occasionally, an AC unit may be blowing cold air but still unable to remove indoor humidity for various reasons. When this occurs, it’s not only uncomfortable but can also cause serious effects on both your home and air conditioner. If you’re currently experiencing this issue, here are some common causes and why it should be addressed quickly.

Thermostat Issues

Thermostat problems are a common reason for high humidity levels in an otherwise cool home. In some cases, the issue may be as simple as having the thermostat set to the wrong setting. However, in other cases, it can be due to a malfunctioning part, such as the thermostat’s temperature sensor. A problem like this can lead to humidity problems, even while the AC is still blowing out cool air, because the sensor is unable to recognize the actual ambient temperature inside your home.

Refrigerant Leaks

The refrigerant levels in your air conditioner are important for keeping humidity in check. While regular maintenance can help keep these levels where they should be, refrigerant leaks can occasionally happen. Corrosion, manufacturing defects, and simple wear and tear from vibration over time can all cause leaks, which can leave refrigerant levels constantly depleted, causing indoor humidity to stay at high levels.

Compressor Problems

Your AC’s compressor pumps refrigerant and compresses it into a type of gas that helps remove heat by releasing it outside through the AC unit’s condenser coils. When a compressor is having problems, it might struggle to remove heat. Although the air might still be cool to a degree, the AC may be struggling to remove moisture from it, leading to higher indoor humidity levels.

An Oversized Unit

Sometimes, an issue known as short cycling can occur. While there are different reasons that this can happen, having an oversized AC unit is the most common one. If your air conditioner is too large for the room or space it’s meant to cool, it may be cooling the area so quickly that once the thermostat detects this, it shuts the system off before there’s been enough time for the air to be dehumidified.

A Blocked Drain Line

During the cooling process, your AC’s condensate drain line helps to remove the moisture that causes humidity inside your home. However, this drain line can become clogged for various reasons, such as debris blockage. When this happens, it can no longer function effectively, leading to more humidity in the air, as well as trapped moisture within the AC system itself that can lead to further issues.

Leaks in Ductwork

Ducts are responsible for distributing conditioned air throughout your home. But if there are leaks in the ductwork that keeps the ducts sealed, these ducts can then draw in humid air from hidden areas of the home where heat may be present, like attics, basements, or crawl spaces. Your AC unit will still be pushing out air that is seemingly cold, but not quite as cold as it should be because it’s combining with this more humid air coming from elsewhere.

Clogged Air Filters

While air filters are known for purifying the air by helping to remove things like dust, dander, and airborne particles, they also contribute significantly to your air conditioner’s overall efficiency. If a filter becomes dirty and isn’t replaced, it can cause restricted airflow throughout the system, leading to many issues, especially for the evaporator coils that play a major role in both the cooling and dehumidification processes.

Issues that High Humidity Levels Can Cause in Your Home

Regardless of which issue is causing high humidity levels in your home, the following are just some of the many problems that can arise when leaving this type of issue unaddressed:

A Struggling Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner’s main job is to cool down any warm air in your home. When it’s unable to remove humidity and is struggling to do so, it creates extra work for the unit that leads to more wear and tear over time. This can lead to a wide range of issues, which can eventually result in expensive repairs that might otherwise have been less costly to fix if the issue of excessive humidity had been addressed more quickly.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils in your air conditioner contain refrigerant, which as mentioned previously, cools the humid air by removing heat from it. This process creates a type of moisture called condensate. When an AC is overworked because it can’t remove humidity, this condensate can freeze. This can then cause the compressor to fail, which can compound the problem by creating even more humidity. Other parts within the unit can also be affected when the evaporator coils freeze, such as the refrigerant lines.

Structural Damage

Because humidity is moisture-rich, this can be devastating for your home. While you may notice mostly minor damage in the aesthetics of your home first, such as peeling paint or wallpaper, eventually this can progress beyond the surface, deep into the frames, beams, and other important structures of your home in the form of rotting, warping, or any other form of weakening of these structures.

Bacteria and Fungi

Fungi and bacteria are threats to your home and air conditioner that both thrive in humid conditions. Fungi can increase in a home by using the moisture in humid air to grow. Fungal spores can then spread throughout a home using ambient air. Bacteria can be a serious problem as well, as it can colonize more easily in humid homes and can also transmit more easily with airflow coming from an air conditioner.

Dust Mite Infestations

Dust mites can also breed and spread in homes when humidity levels are high. While the mites themselves aren’t typically found in air conditioners, the allergens they leave behind can be distributed throughout the air by AC units. When an AC isn’t performing well because it’s overworked by humid temperatures and unable to correct them, this can create even more ideal conditions and a more suitable environment for these mites to spread, which can trigger allergies or cause breathing disorders for some.

Higher Energy Bills

When your air conditioner is struggling to remove humidity, it’s using extra energy to do so. Many homeowners with high electricity bills often assume that their air conditioner, which may be an older type, needs to be replaced. In many cases, it can be a quick fix that can then correct an indoor humidity issue. This sometimes leads to reduced electricity bills once the AC unit no longer has to work as hard.

If your air conditioner isn’t removing humidity in your home, it’s crucial to correct the issue quickly before other problems occur and more costly repairs become necessary. Contact us today at Western Pacific Heating, Cooling & Airflow in Vancouver, BC, as our highly experienced technicians can diagnose what’s wrong with your AC and correct the issue quickly. In addition to AC cooling repair and maintenance, we also offer air purification services, and both furnace installation and maintenance as well.

Western Pacific Heating, Cooling & Airflow

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