Comfort in a home is about more than just the correct temperature. The correct humidity balance is also crucial. Air that’s too dry or air that’s too humid makes it more difficult for people to feel comfortable. High humidity is specifically a problem in hot weather since the moisture levels make it harder for the human body to release heat and naturally cool off.
You have an air conditioning system in your house to help lower the temperature during the heat. Does the AC also contribute to controlling the humidity? We’re going to look into this in greater detail and offer our recommendations for humidity control in Madison County.
The AC Vs. Humidity
A refrigerant-based air conditioning system, like the one you have in your home, does have a dehumidifying effect on the air. This is a natural part of how an air conditioner runs and the reason many people assume that an AC can serve as a dehumidifier.
An air conditioner draws heat from the inside air of a house by evaporating cold refrigerant inside a coil. As the refrigerant evaporates and absorbs heat from the air, it also causes moisture in the air to condense along its surface. It’s the same effect as when you see water droplets forming on the outside of a glass of cold water. The condensate moisture leaves the AC through a drainage system, which is why you occasionally hear water dripping inside the unit.
So, is this dehumidification enough for humidity control in your house? Probably not.
The Limits of AC Dehumidification
It’s accurate to say that air conditioners have dehumidification properties, not that they’re dehumidifiers. Removing moisture from the air is a side-effect of how an AC runs, not its actual purpose. The amount of humidity an air conditioner draws from the air is minimal compared to the moisture in the air on a humid day.
An AC cannot lower 70% relative humidity down to a comfortable 45%. Yes, the AC will make the air feel cooler, but the humidity remaining will still make it harder for people to stay cool, forcing the AC to run for longer to deliver full comfort.
If high humidity is a regular problem in your home, and you feel you’re pushing your AC too hard to overcome it (and causing utility bills to soar), we recommend you have a whole-house dehumidifier installed. This device also uses refrigerant circulation to remove moisture from the air, but it can remove a larger amount of moisture than an air conditioner.
The dehumidifier also reheats the air it dehumidifies so it won’t interfere with the air conditioner and end up making the air too cold. A whole-house dehumidifier has its own set of controls so you can precisely set humidity conditions.
If you’re planning to have a new air conditioner installed in the near future, you can opt for an AC unit that has a dehumidifier built into it.
If you want to get control of humidity in your home (and better comfort is only one reason to do this), talk to our team about either installing a whole-house dehumidifier or replacing your old AC with one that has an integrated dehumidifier.