Do Air Conditioners Dehumidify? How to Lower Humidity using AC

During summer most states experience a brutal combination of heat and humidity. This not only affect indoor air quality and comfort but also accelerate the growth of mold and mildew in a home. This is the time an air conditioner becomes too handy. But do air conditioners dehumidify?

The primary role of an AC unit is to cool air, but it can also do a good job in lowering the high levels of humidity. However, extreme levels of humidity will put a strain on even the most powerful air conditioning system, and running a dedicated dehumidifier may be the only way of getting rid of that sticky hot air in your home.

How do Air Conditioners Dehumidify?

Removal of water from air serves as a byproduct of air cooling by modern air conditioning systems. When the AC unit draws in hot air and pass it over coils filled with refrigerant, the water vapor available in air will also condense on the coils and eventually drains away into the drip pan.

However, too much water condensing on the coils will affect how your air conditioner work. First of all, your portable air conditioner will fill with water quickly. This results from a reduced air flow around the condensation coils which can also cause the compressor to fail. You will then realize that your air conditioner is not cooling and you may need to contact HVCA service providers near you.

Do you need a dehumidifier when you have an AC unit?

In normal weather, an AC unit is enough to control your indoor humidity and temperature. In humid subtropical climates found in American Gulf and lower East Coast states, you will need a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity in check even when having an AC unit installed in your home or property.

Increased level of humidity does more harm than just making you uncomfortable. This is a favorite media for growth of mold and mildew whose spores cause serious respiratory infections. High levels of water in the air will also damage to your water-sensitive surfaces and fabrics.

Untreated wooden floors, furniture and fittings warp or rot when persistently subjected to higher moisture contents. The same also catalyzes formation of rust on your metal surfaces and items including electronics. A good dehumidifier will put a stop to all these problems.

Air Conditioner Dehumidifier Mode – How it Works

Dry mode is a feature available is some types of air conditioning units. When selected, it makes an air conditioner to efficiently reduce humidity in the room. Air conditioner dehumidifier mode is a great energy efficient function that will reduce your power costs and lower your carbon footprint as well.

Standard cool-mode is the normal setting for removing heat from the air. When the weather changes to humid, using the same function isn’t energy efficient. Cool mode is great to use when both the room temperature and the humidity levels are excessively high.

In dehumidifier mode the air conditioner isn’t really releasing cold air, nor actively cooling the room. Moisture is only removed from that particular air before it exits the unit to flow back into the room. This means that, the fan and the other inner parts of the AC unit will be running, but it won’t blow out any cold air.

AC Dehumidifier Mode

When to use air conditioner dehumidifier mode

  • The temperature in a room is cool, but the humidity is high
  • You need to conserve electricity and lower your bills
  • You don’t want the air in your room to be too chilly
  • It’s the cooler months of the year or humid rainy seasons

Other ways of lowering humidity in the house

Exploring other ways of lowering humidity in the house can save you the burden of installing two heavy power consuming air systems – a dehumidifier and an air conditioner. The following ways of preventing moisture build-up in your home will significantly lower the level of humidity.

1. Run exhaust fans in your home

Kitchen and bathroom usage greatly increase moisture content in the air. Running externally venting exhaust fans when cooking and taking shower will drive away excess water vapor and odors.

2. Grow plants that absorb humidity

Some thirsty plants are capable of absorbing water vapor from the air thus lowering the humidity levels. Plants that absorb humidity will also add color to your décor, reduce carbon dioxide gases and provide refreshing air.

3. Regularly clean AC filters

Filters are important parts of HVAC systems. With time, filters become dirty and without proper cleaning they will be clogged. This will stop air from passing through them and you will no longer enjoy the desired comfort. Normalize cleaning and replacing air conditioner filters as needed.

4. Dry your clothes outside

Laundry activities can raise the level of humidity in a home. One poplar behavior is hanging clothes inside, which contributes to more water vapor in the air. Letting your clothes to dry outside after washing them will prevent moisture build up in the air inside your home.

5. Take cold and short showers

Hot showers are enjoyable but they contribute to increased water vapor in a home. Taking colder and short showers not only save on power costs but also cut on humidity levels.

Final Thought

Both high and low levels of humidity is not good. Use a hygrometer to measure humidity levels especially when you live in subtropical regions or you are not experiencing your indoor desired comfort. While an air conditioner will help in correcting humidity in normal climates, higher levels will need a dehumidifier – which is less expensive than AC unit and uses less power.