If you’re like most people, your home’s air conditioning is crucial in keeping it pleasant throughout the summer months. But did you know that air conditioning can also help reduce the humidity in the air?
In fact, if you live in a humid climate, it’s important to have both air conditioning and a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels in your home within healthy bounds.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing and using a dehumidifier with your air conditioning unit.
High humidity and your air conditioner
If you have central air conditioning, your AC unit is also working to remove moisture from the air as it cools your home. However, in humid climates, this isn’t always enough to keep the humidity at a comfortable level. It is because the temperature of the air coming out of your AC unit is lower than the temperature of the humid air outside. This difference in temperature creates a “dew point,” which is the point at which water vapor in the air will condense into liquid water.
When the dew point is reached, the water vapor in the air will condense on anything it comes into contact with – including your AC unit. It can lead to all sorts of problems, from water damage to your AC unit to the growth of mold and mildew.
Dehumidifiers and your air conditioner
A dehumidifier can help reduce the amount of moisture in the air, which can help prevent the formation of mold and mildew and protect your AC unit from water damage.
Dehumidifiers work by pulling in humid air and then passing that air over a cooling coil. This causes the water vapor in the air to condense on the coil, and the resulting water is collected in a tank.
Benefits of using a dehumidifier with an AC unit
There are several benefits to using a dehumidifier with your air conditioner, including:
Reduced risk of water damage
When the humidity in your home is too high, it can lead to water damage to your AC unit. A dehumidifier can help reduce the amount of moisture in the air and protect your AC unit from water damage.
Elimination of musty odors
High humidity can lead to musty odors in your home. A dehumidifier can help get rid of these smells by reducing the amount of moisture in the air.
Reduced risk of mold and mildew growth
Mold and mildew thrive in humid environments. A dehumidifier can help to reduce the amount of moisture in the air, which can help to prevent mold and mildew from growing.
Improved air quality
In addition to reducing the amount of mold and mildew in your home, using a dehumidifier can also help reduce dust mites, which are tiny creatures that thrive in humid environments. Dust mites are a common trigger for allergies and asthma, so reducing their population can help improve your air quality and reduce your risk of these respiratory problems.
Humidity can make it feel hotter than it actually is. By reducing the amount of moisture in the air, a dehumidifier can help you feel more comfortable in your home.
Lower energy bills
Because dehumidifiers help your AC unit run more efficiently, using a dehumidifier can also help lower your energy bills.
How to choose a dehumidifier
When choosing a dehumidifier, there are several things you’ll need to keep in mind, including:
The size of the unit
Dehumidifiers come in a range of sizes, so it’s important to choose a unit that’s appropriate for the size of your home. If you have a small home or apartment, a portable dehumidifier may be sufficient. If you have a larger home, however, you’ll need a whole-house dehumidifier.
The capacity of the unit
The capacity of a dehumidifier is the amount of water it can remove from the air in a 24-hour period. The capacity you need will depend on the size of your home and the humidity level you’re trying to achieve.
The features of the unit
Dehumidifiers come with a range of features, so you’ll need to decide which features are most important to you. For example, some units have automatic shut-off switches that turn the unit off when the tank is full, while others have continuous drain hoses that allow you to connect the unit to a drain so you don’t have to empty the tank.
The price of the unit
Dehumidifiers range in price from around $100 to $1,000 or more. The price you’ll pay will depend on the size, capacity, and features of the unit.
How to use a dehumidifier
If you’re using a whole-house dehumidifier, it’s important to have it installed by a professional. Once it’s been installed, your HVAC technician will be able to help you set the humidity level that’s right for your home.
If you’re using a portable dehumidifier, you can simply plug it in and turn it on. Most portable dehumidifiers have a built-in humidistat, which allows you to set the desired humidity level. The unit will then turn on and off as needed to maintain that level.
It’s also important to empty the water tank on your dehumidifier on a regular basis. Most units have an indicator that tells you when the tank is full, but it’s a good idea to empty it even if the indicator hasn’t yet gone off.
When to use an air conditioned with a dehumidifier
In most cases, a dehumidifier is all you need to keep the indoor air quality in your home at a comfortable level. However, if you live in an area with high humidity, you may need to use an air conditioner in conjunction with a dehumidifier. This is because an air conditioner alone will not lower the humidity level in your home.
If you have a central air conditioning system, you may be able to have a whole-house dehumidifier installed. This type of unit is integrated into your air conditioning system and removes moisture from the air as it’s being cooled.
If you don’t have central air or prefer not to have a whole-house dehumidifier, you can use a portable air conditioner with a built-in dehumidifier. These units are less expensive than whole-house dehumidifiers and can be moved from room to room as needed.
Air conditioners with built-in dehumidifiers are available in a range of sizes, so it’s important to choose a unit appropriate for your home’s size. In general, you should aim to keep the humidity in your home between 30 and 50 percent.