Dehumidifier vs air conditioner debate strictly depends on your cooling preferences! Some people prefer a dry room climate, while for others, a slightly humid environment is preferable. Overall, it is very important to keep ideal home humidity levels to maintain your comfort and remain healthy.
Humidity levels can become a problematic issue during the winter months, where home heating can reduce the amount of moisture present in the air. In the summer season, room conditions can get very muggy and soggy, necessitating the need for a dehumidifying system. Depending on your inclinations, the debate of dehumidifier vs air conditioner can get a bit complicated. Let’s dig deep into solving the impasse.
In summary, if you are living in a hot and humid environment, you would want to go for an air conditioner, which achieves both cooling and a reduction in humidity at the same time. If you live near the sea and in a moderate climate, then a dehumidifier makes more sense.
But in some cases, you might need both of these appliances working together. You might be wonder, why? The reason is simple. An air conditioner, even though it does dehumidify the air, does not do it as its primary function. Air conditioner humidity control is not sufficient enough for a mid-sized room in a very humid location. A dehumidifier, on the other hand, is designed to take large volumes of moisture out of the air.
Let us find out how both of these appliances work and how to choose the best one for your needs.
Dehumidifier vs Air Conditioner – What Is the Difference?
Both these appliances function according to the same principle and have a lot of common parts between them. But the difference lies in the purpose of using them. While air conditioners throw cool air into the room, dehumidifiers pull out moisture from the air.
The dilemma with dehumidifiers vs air conditioners lies with the fact that do you require cooling or only removal of excess moisture?
While an air conditioner is primarily used for removing hot air and introducing cold air in a room, it also removes humidity from the air as a consequence. But the volume of moisture removed is not in such a great quantity so as to have a noticeable effect on the room atmosphere. This is where a dehumidifier is more efficient; it can remove a high amount of moisture from the room. While the room may naturally drop when humidity is removed, dehumidifiers do not throw any cool air into a room.
However, an air conditioner provides the top-level cooling with maintaining the humidity as a value-added feature!
How Air Conditioners Work?
An air conditioner is a complex combination of different parts, the main ones being the evaporator, condenser, compressor, and the expansion valve. A fluid known as a refrigerant is pumped through a series of pipes and is the main medium through which heat is removed from a room.
The component that throws cool air into the room is the evaporator. The refrigerant, which is a liquid at this point, is rapidly expanded through the expansion valve and converted to a gas. This process cools the refrigerant, which is then run through the evaporator coils. Fans are placed behind the evaporator, which throws the cool air into the room. After this process, the refrigerant has absorbed the heat present in the room and is now a hot gas.
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The refrigerant then continues on to the compressor, where it is compressed and turned into a high-temperature high-pressure gas. The refrigerant flows through the condenser coils and is blown over by fans that remove the heat from the refrigerant. This is what you see when a fan on the outdoor unit is running and blowing hot air. The refrigerant has turned into a liquid by this point, and the cycle repeats itself.
How Does a Dehumidifier Work?
You might be wondering how a dehumidifier works? A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air but does not cool it down. The dry air does lower the real feel of the temperature, but it is not to the same extent as an air conditioner.
In the most common types of dehumidifiers, moist air is pulled in by the dehumidifier and cooled to a temperature at which the moisture condenses and separates from the air. This water is collected in a bucket or tray, which needs to be emptied from time to time. All the moisture is pulled from the air and drips into a bucket or tray mechanism that can be manually emptied. As opposed to an air conditioner, a dehumidifier does not eject warm air in the room, and it can be placed inside without any external vents.
There are a few different types of dehumidifiers in the market, though, let’s see how each of them operates:
How Desiccant Dehumidifiers Work?
A certain chemical substance known as ‘desiccant’ can pull moisture out from the air and absorb it. In such machines, a desiccant is used as the medium of dehumidification, and it is very effective at it. Moreover, desiccant dehumidifiers are not easily affected by power fluctuations and are also low on energy consumption.
How Thermoelectric Dehumidifiers Work?
As the name suggests, these systems use the “thermoelectric effect” to extract moisture from the air. A thermoelectric material, when supplied electricity, has one side as cold while the other one becomes hot. The cold side is used to absorb the moisture and thus decrease humidity in the room.
How Refrigerated Coil Dehumidifiers Work?
Most similar to refrigerators, these dehumidifiers work in a way that is similar to refrigerators. Hot air is passed through the fan and the refrigerated coil. The coil traps the moisture from the air, thereby removing the humidity.
When to Opt for Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners?
With a choice between both appliances, it can become quite a dilemma on which appliance to go for. Air conditioners provide superior cooling and, at times, even heating, while a dehumidifier doesn’t provide either. The choice of which appliance to opt for depends heavily on your personal preferences, budget, living location, and design of the house.
Let us go over all of these considerations one by one:
Everyone has their own personal likings for the room environment. Some people put more emphasis on having a strictly regulated temperature, while for others, the reduction in humidity is more preferred. A humid environment can be a greater source of discomfort than a room of similar temperature but low humidity.
At the end of the day, the deciding factor can be the budget. Even though both the appliances function differently, but a comparison still needs to be made when you are left to choose between the two. An air conditioner generally costs more to purchase and has additional installation costs as well. A dehumidifier cost, in contrast, does not have any post-purchase installation requirements, and is often a portable plug and play unit. They also cost less to buy, but again, do not provide the same cooling functionality that an air conditioner does.
As mentioned before, in places near large bodies of water, humidity levels can be very high. An air conditioner is not able to remove enough amount of moisture from the air to keep the room sufficiently comfortable, and this is where the need for a dehumidifier is felt the most.
Pros and Cons of Air Conditioners:
|Reduces the amount of heat in the room||High energy usage|
|Reduces moderate amounts of humidity||Maintenance and installation costs|
|Can be used as a fan as well||High initial costs|
Pros and Cons of Dehumidifiers:
|Reduces the amount of humidity in the room||Provides little to no cooling|
|Greatly reduces the growth of mold and fungi||Additional energy expense|
|Portable units can be set anywhere in the room|
Achieve the Best Temperature
Even though an air conditioner does reduce humidity levels, you will often not see a humidity setting on your air conditioner remote control. So how do you set the air conditioner humidity level in the room? The answer lies in smart AC controllers, like the Cielo Breez Plus and Cielo Breez Eco.
Built-in humidity sensors within the Cielo Breez keep you aware of the exact humidity levels of the room, and through the Cielo Home mobile app, you can control the humidity levels from your smartphone. What’s more, you can set up a specific humidity range for the air conditioner to maintain, and it will do that all on its own. 7-day schedules help you keep your room environment perfectly maintained throughout the week, without having to constantly adjust the settings of your air conditioner.
Smart AC controllers also work with dehumidifiers, as long as they come with an infrared remote control!
Now, in the comparison of dehumidifier vs air conditioner, you know the winner!