For most people, especially those who live in hot and humid areas, a humidifier and an air conditioner must make their homes hospitable. Investing in these two units will cost you a lot, and once you install them, you’ll have a huge electric bill to pay end of the month. So, can a dehumidifier be used as an air conditioner?
Not so much! A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air by passing it through a sealed refrigerant system, condensed, dried, reheated to an ambient temperature, and returned to the room. Your room might feel cooler at first, but as the dehumidifier continues to dry the air, the temperature will stay at the ambient level to make it comfortable.
Since this is a hot topic that needs in-depth discussion to elaborate on how a dehumidifier works and why you cannot use it as an air conditioner, you might want to read along.
Can You Use a Dehumidifier As An Air Conditioner?
A dehumidifier’s primary purpose is to dry room air to make it feel comfortable. And even though air humidity has a direct impact on how hot it can be, a humidifier cannot help cool it down.
Some people argue that when air is passed the compression and condensation system in a dehumidifier, it loses several temperatures, which is correct.
It’s something you can expect, considering when a humidifier reheats the air, it gives it a comfortable ambient temperature.
It might work for you if you live in a slightly hot area, but it will not give you the cooling effect you can get from an air conditioner.
A dehumidifier is designed to pull the humid air into a condensation system, remove the humidity and then reheat the air before returning it into the dry room.
Yes, it might feel as if it’s cooler after you start the dehumidifier, but the room will start to feel warm again after a while.
As the reheating is repeated, the unit will start to stabilize the temperature to make it comfortable but not cooler.
If comfort is what you’re looking for in an air-conditioned room, you can use a dehumidifier as an Air Conditioner.
However, if you need the cooler sensation in your room, especially if you live in a hot climate, you cannot use a dehumidifier as an air conditioner.
How Does a Dehumidifier Work?
A humidifier is designed to detect the amount of humidity in your room or home and reduce it. It draws the room air, removes moisture, reheats, and releases it back into the room.
You can regulate the humidity reduction level using the appliance humidistat or a control board fitted with a sensor.
Suppose the unit’s humidistat or sensor detects that level of humidity is higher than what you had set. In that case, it sends a 120-volt alternating current to its compressor and the air-pulling fan motor.
When the fan starts to rotate, it pulls the air and passes it through an air filter to remove any dirt and other pollutants like pollen and dander. It’s then pushed to the sealed refrigerant system, where the magic works.
One of the refrigerant components is a compressor that compresses a refrigerant changing it from gas to liquid. When the gas is pushed through a series of condenser coils, it becomes hot liquid.
Here heat dissipated by the condenser coils while the liquid travels through to the capillary tube and then through to the evaporator coils.
Once the refrigerant liquid is in the evaporator coils, it expands and covers to gas. The process makes the coils cold.
After the gas achieves its mission of making the evaporator coils cold, it flows back to the refrigerant tank and compressor through the suction line.
When the air drawn by the fan touches the cold evaporator coils, the moisture in it condenses to liquid accumulated on the evaporator.
It then drips into a bucket which you’ll need to empty time and again. You might also have the option of diverting it with a hose to a more convenient draining spot.
Now that the dried and cooler air is reheated to an ambient temperature and returned to the room. The process is repeated until the air in the room satisfies the humidistat or control board setting.
How Does an Air Conditioner Work?
An air conditioner has two units, one installed inside the house and the other outdoors. The indoor unit contains evaporator coils that stay cooler than the air in the room; the outdoor unit has condenser coils that stay hot than the surrounding.
However, a window-mounted air conditioner comes as a single unit but works with the same principle: to take hot air from the room and transfer it outside. It does this through a series of condensation and compression processes.
When you power it on, the AC pushes the refrigerant liquid through the evaporator coils. Because of its low boiling point, it turns into gas. The energy required to turn it into gas is picked from the hot air inside your house.
The hot gas is then taken to the compressor, compressed back to liquid but at a high temperature. It’s then passed through the outdoor unit that has the condenser. Here the heat is a lot to the surrounding with the help of a fan.
The cycle is repeated until your thermostat reads the temperature that you set.
What are the Differences between a Dehumidifier and an Air Conditioner (Functionalities)?
Now that you know how these two unit functions, can you tell their differences in how they work? If you can’t, here’s a summary.
A dehumidifier takes the humid air from your house and passes it through an evaporator to condense any moisture in it into liquid, thus drying it. However, in the end, the cooler air is heated back to room temperature.
On the other hand, an air conditioner uses an evaporator to take heat away from your room and transfer it to the surrounding. It requires two units, one indoors and the other outdoor. It does also help remove moisture from your room as well as make your room feel cooler and comfortable
So, can a humidifier cool a room? No! A humidifier can only dehumidify the room but does not make it colder. That’s the work of an air conditioner, which can dry a room as it cools it.
A dehumidifier or Air Conditioner – Which is the Best Option?
Even though a dehumidifier is designed to remove the excess and dangerous levels of moisture in a room or a house, it’s not always the best option.
If you live in a place that experiences high temperatures, but it’s also rich in moisture, the best option could be an air conditioner.
Investing in these two appliances can skyrocket your electric bills, not forgetting the investment you’d use to buy them.
So, if the climate around you is high and you need to cool your home but there is also some moisture content that needs to be reduced, you can invest in an HVAC. It can help with both.
However, if you’re in a place with high air moisture content to the extent that molds are growing on the walls or you need a system to dry your damp basement, a dehumidifier is the best choice.
You could also invest in a dehumidifier air conditioner combo which works as a regular AC with a built-in dehumidifier. It can be a huge plus, especially in reducing your electric bills.
Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioner – Which One Has a Higher Power Consumption?
A dehumidifier is a more straightforward, cheaper unit. Compared to an air conditioner with two units and massive size, a dehumidifier consumes the least power. According to experts, it consumes about 1/10th of what an AC uses.
Use a dehumidifier as an air conditioner when:
The interior temperature is a bit higher than the ambient room temperature. If you want to enjoy some cool environment and first, you will want to invest in an air conditioner. That’s is must when you live in sweltering climates.