Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

An A/C and a Dehumidifer Both Control Moisture, but How?

Both an A/C and a dehumidifier are capable of controlling indoor humidity. When used correctly, both can help keep your home’s relative humidity below 50 to 60 percent – the ideal range for maximum home comfort – while saving you money on energy costs.

Warm air holds more moisture than cool air. As an A/C works to remove heat from warm indoor air, it condenses the water vapor from the air as well. The average dehumidifier works on roughly the same principle, but unlike A/C systems, dehumidifiers are dedicated solely to removing moisture instead of removing heat.

The main difference between an A/C and a dehumidifier is that while the former transfers the latent heat outdoors, the latter simply dumps the warm air into the immediate area. What little cooling that goes on near the chilled coils is offset by the heat generated through vaporization during the condensation process. Running a dehumidifier in an indoor space usually makes a room slightly warmer, but it also lowers its relative humidity, maintaining indoor air quality while making the room more comfortable to be in.

Depending on your home comfort needs, homeowners can choose between two types of dehumidifiers:

  • Portable dehumidifier – Ranging from small hand-held units to larger units with casters, these devices remove moisture from a single room or area such as a finished basement. Most feature plastic buckets that must be drained every so often, though some have an attachable hose to drain water outside. (Some of the larger models are sometimes referred to as whole-house or basement units.)
  • Whole-house dehumidifier – Built into your HVAC system, it’s capable of removing moisture from the entire home.

Both an A/C and a dehumidifier are capable of controlling moisture, but only the dehumidifier is optimized for the task. Dehumidifiers are useful when you want to control moisture without controlling temperature, such as during muggy fall and spring days. A dehumidifier also comes in handy for controlling excess moisture that may overwhelm your A/C’s cooling abilities. This is more likely to occur if your air conditioner is old or oversized for your home.

To learn more about how an A/C and a dehumidifier can keep your home comfortable, please contact us at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air. We proudly offer our service and expertise to customers in the San Diego area.