How Air Conditioners and Dehumidifiers Handle Humidity Problems

July 1, 2013
Ross and Witmer

For the utmost in home comfort in the Charlotte area during our hot summers, a whole-house dehumidifier working together with your air conditioner is ideal. When going outdoors in our area, we just have to put up with humid weather. Inside the home, however, residents should do their best to control humidity. A balanced indoor humidity level, neither too dry nor too moist, helps protect your home’s structure along with wooden furnishings and other property inside, such as musical instruments.

Uncontrolled humidity can adversely impact your health along with your comfort: it can reduce your indoor air quality, encouraging mold growth, wood rot, dust mite infestations, and circulation of bacteria and allergens in the air. Dehumidification helps avoid these issues and also helps you save energy and money without sacrificing comfort. Since you feel hotter in humid conditions, you should be able to run your A/C less (or set the thermostat a bit higher) by keeping humidity in check.

The role of your air conditioner

Air conditioners are designed for temperature control and don’t monitor humidity. They only remove moisture from air as a side effect of cooling. A standard cooling system removes moisture through condensation; as air is blown past copper cooling coils (which carry refrigerant) moisture condenses onto the coils. Properly sized cooling systems remove humidity the best, and they do it even better when outfitted with advanced features such as variable speed blower motors and two-stage compressors.

How dehumidifiers handle humidity

Dehumidifiers monitor indoor relative humidity with a humidistat. When humidity gets too high, the system removes airborne moisture like the A/C does, then reheats air slightly and recirculates it through the home. Moisture from the coils drips into a reservoir. Especially during spring and fall, with the A/C off, the air indoors may feel cool, yet remain damp. That’s when the dehumidifier component of your system may work well on its own.

Your local HVAC expert can help you choose the right equipment for your home, considering factors such as the climate, in-home moisture sources, your house’s cooling load, and structural factors.

Contact the professionals at Ross & Witmer for cooling system design and installation along with dehumidification options tailored to your unique needs. Learn more on our website or give us a call.

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