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Does My Air Conditioner Also Dehumidify the House?

Flooding House

I get plenty of questions about air conditioning systems and how they work. That’s why I have a blog! I could’ve just penned a short FAQ and then gone into retirement on my favorite couch. But I’m a hard-working blogger dog! I see great examples of hard work every day here at Russell & Abbott, and I want to do my part. I take the time to go in-depth on the questions people ask most often. And the question I’m tackling today is: “Does my AC also help dehumidify the house?”

I can answer this by dividing the question into two. “Does my AC lower humidity in my house?” The answer is yes. “Does my AC control humidity enough to make a difference to my comfort?” The answer is no.

An Air Conditioner Does Pull Some Humidity From the Air …

This is just part of how an air conditioner works. The way an AC cools down the air that blows through the ventilation system is by passing this air over a coil filled with cold refrigerant. This is called the evaporator coil because as the warm air comes into contact with the coil, the refrigerant inside it evaporates. And as it evaporates, it draws heat out of the air—that’s why the air becomes cooler.

If you remember high school science, you may recall that evaporation also draws moisture which condenses. Just think of taking a cold drink can from the fridge—it starts to form moisture along its outside as it absorbs heat. The same thing happens with the evaporator coil—moisture from the air forms into water along the coil’s surface. Those droplets are signs the AC is pulling humidity out of the air.

… But It Doesn’t Work as a Dehumidifier

However, if you want to control the amount of humidity in your house for better comfort and to prevent issues such as mold, mildew, and water damage, the air conditioning alone won’t cut it.

Think of it this way: an air conditioner has some dehumidifying properties, but it’s not a dehumidifier. The difference in moisture levels around your house won’t change significantly with a standard AC running. Yes, you’ll receive cooled air, but you’ll still have to deal with the effects of high humidity. When the humidity level is above 60%, that means feeling like the house is hotter than it is. To combat that extra heat, you have to run the air conditioner for longer and longer periods.

Don’t Worry … We Can Help

An HVAC service in Knoxville, TN that we offer to control humidity in your house is to give the air conditioner the help it needs: a whole-house dehumidifier. This is a device that we integrate into the HVAC system that is dedicated to removing the excess moisture from the air without interfering with the AC’s operation. You can enjoy precision-balanced humidity using special controls (called a humidistat), so you can make sure your house doesn’t get too dry either. We recommend a setting of about 45% relative humidity for the best conditions.

Stay cool and dry!