Birmingham, Alabama is known for southern hospitality and extreme humidity so you may wonder, will a dehumidifier help my air conditioner? If you’ve lived in Alabama for any length of time, you know humidity doesn’t just affect you outside. It seeps into your home through your cooling system, leaks in your ductwork, and gaps throughout the structure.
The discomfort is only one side effect of extreme moisture levels in your home. High humidity levels create complications for those with respiratory illnesses, allergies and certain heart conditions. It also reduces the overall indoor air quality in your household.
If you are tired of battling the swamp-like humidity, consider a whole-home dehumidifier installation. Install a dehumidifier within your air conditioner and gain many benefits besides humidity management.
In this blog we’ll cover why too much humidity is a problem, how a dehumidifier helps air conditioners keep you more comfortable and the difference between their functions.
The Effects of High Humidity
What’s the big deal? Plenty. Let’s review some of what excessive humidity brings.
A moist environment is a prime breeding ground for microscopic organisms, like mold, to grow and thrive. In turn, the risk of mold spores and dust mites throughout your home increases.
The spores travel through the air vents in your ductwork and infest your HVAC system. Excessive humidity compromises your indoor air quality and increases the chance of illness in your home.
A whole-home dehumidifier controls the moisture indoors and helps air conditioners create the ideal humidity level to stop mold in its tracks!
Healthy humidity levels in a home are between 30 and 50 percent for most of the U.S. In Birmingham, a realistic level with air conditioners is closer to 50 or 60 percent. When the levels go well above, your home becomes a breeding ground for all sorts of allergens.
Although air conditioners are designed to remove moisture from the air, they can’t remove all of it. They struggle when the humidity levels are high.
Allergy Symptoms Occur When Humidity is High
Humidity allows several different allergens to grow and thrive inside your home. Small and poorly ventilated areas, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms or small kitchens, are prime spots for moisture to accumulate. If you experience any of these symptoms, high humidity might be part of the problem:
- Difficulty breathing or constant wheezing
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Stuffy nose
- Skin irritations and rashes
How Does a Dehumidifier Help an Air Conditioner?
A dehumidifier helps your current air conditioner maintain ideal humidity levels in your home twenty-four hours a day. A dehumidifier offers many benefits to you and your home, such as:
There are a variety of allergens waiting to trigger an individual’s allergies or their symptoms. Dust mites, mold, and mildew are the most common allergens in a humid home. They thrive in moist environments, which means rooms with poor ventilation will yield higher allergens. Bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements are the most common areas.
Prevents Dust Mites from Spreading
Dust mites are nasty microscopic organisms that feed off dead skin cells. They live and grow in bedding, upholstery and mattresses. When homes are too moist and hot, dust mites reproduce rapidly.
Moist environments also draw in nasty pests, such as roaches and spiders. A dehumidifier will help your air conditioner control moisture and reduce the number of creepy-crawly things invading your home.
Ideal humidity levels keep you, your family and guests comfortable regardless of the weather outside. You will enjoy lounging in your home while sipping a sweet tea as the humidity levels continue to rise outside with the temperature. A dehumidifier helps the air in your home feel cooler, so you can sit back and enjoy yourself and your company.
Reduced Energy Costs
Surprised? It’s true! A dehumidifier helps your cooling system work more efficiently day-after-day. By removing excess moisture from the air, your air conditioner isn’t required to work harder to maintain ideal temperatures in your home.
You save energy when your air conditioner works a reasonable amount, and your cooling system experiences less wear and tear.
Increases Air Conditioners Efficiency
Air conditioners can remove some moisture when the humidity is low outside. However, installing a whole-home dehumidifier with your air conditioner increases its performance and efficiency throughout the summer.
Moisture can accumulate inside air conditioners when the humidity is high, which can interfere with the inner components and force units to work harder to deliver controlled temperatures throughout homes.
By reducing moisture inside your air conditioner, your unit will operate smoothly and experience less wear and tear when the heat is high outside.
Reduce moisture by pairing dehumidifiers with air conditioners, which will increase the performance and efficiency of cooling systems. You will feel healthier and experience less allergy and asthma symptoms when your home is dry.
Controls Moisture in Every Corner
Portable dehumidifiers only alleviate the moisture in a set space, while whole-home dehumidifiers work with air conditioners to control humidity throughout entire homes.
As your air conditioner operates, the dehumidifier removes the excess moisture in the air before circulating it through the air ducts. By removing moisture from the air-conditioned air, you experience less damp spots throughout your home.
Extreme humidity even damages your home. You may notice paint peeling from the walls, wet spots forming on the walls and ceiling, and the foundation growing weaker because of too much humidity. Furnishings and doors bend and swell when moisture is too high in a home, including wood floors and wooden furniture. Instruments like pianos and guitars are frequently out of tune.
Benefits of a Whole-Home Dehumidifier
A whole-home dehumidifier offers many benefits besides controlling and maintaining your moisture levels in your home. Portable dehumidifiers require you to move them from room to room. Or they require you to buy multiple units to cover several spaces.
Whole-home dehumidifiers remove moisture from every room in your home by working with your current heating and cooling system’s ductwork.
This allows your air conditioning system to work less often because the lower humidity levels make the air feel cooler. A whole-home dehumidifier helps your air conditioner run more efficiently because it only has to work to cool the air and not dehumidify it.
To further fight allergens, many people use air purifiers, ultraviolet light, and high-efficiency filters with their air conditioners.
Air Conditioner Versus Dehumidifier
Simply maintaining an ideal temperature in your home during the summer months isn’t enough to keep you comfortable. However, creating a healthy environment is possible when you know the difference between your air conditioner and dehumidifier.
Each one helps by controlling humidity, and they work together to maintain optimum temperatures in your house when humidity levels are high.
What’s the Difference Between the Two?
Both an air conditioner and a dehumidifier circulate refrigerant through a continuous loop, switching between liquid to gas repeatedly. However, regardless of their similarities, both have subtle differences. The first difference is air conditioners move warm and cool air and dehumidifiers don’t.
An air conditioner has a fan system design to move air in a room over the evaporator coils, which cools the warm air. The leftover warm air is exhausted outside, so your home remains cool.
A dehumidifier uses a fan to pull in the moist air and deliver dry air back out. The warm air isn’t disposed of so it comes back inside, which plays an adverse effect on the cooling process in your home.
The next difference is moisture control. Both deal with moisture by condensing it on the cooling coils. However, the air handler pools the condensate in a pan, which drains. There might be a drip edge or drainage tubes, either avenue gets the moisture out of the house.
A dehumidifier pulls the water from the air, allowing it to accumulate in a water reservoir. A hose is attached to the reservoir for a dedicated drainage area. An automatic shutoff prevents spills.
Controlling Humidity with an Air Conditioner
Because your air conditioning system can remove some of the moisture from your home, it’s a great option for moderate humidity areas. However, if your current air conditioning system isn’t correctly sized for your house, it won’t effectively eliminate excess moisture.
If you live in Alabama, where the humidity is unbearable during the summer months, combining a whole-home dehumidifier to help your air conditioner is the best option.
Will a Dehumidifier Help Your Air Conditioner? Call Douglas for a Free Estimate!
A dehumidifier with your current HVAC system is more efficient compared to portable units and come in a variety of sizes. Douglas Cooling & Heating carries several dehumidifiers to choose, and our NATE-certified technicians will suggest the best option for your home. Concerned about expenses? We offer HVAC financing!
Using a whole-home dehumidifier with your air conditioner improves energy-efficiency in your home and keeps you feeling comfortable all summer long. So yes, a dehumidifier does help your air conditioner.
Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating if you are ready to take control of the Alabama humidity issues in your home. Our NATE-certified technicians are experienced and skilled to install a quality dehumidifier with your air conditioning unit.
Make it even easier with membership in one of our service plans. We offer plans at three different levels to fit any budget. So call Douglas Cooling & Heating today and schedule an HVAC maintenance call for your heating and cooling system.
Our team serves homeowners throughout the Birmingham, Alabama area, including Mountain Brook, Pelham, Bessemer, and Calera. You’ll also find our team in Vestavia Hills, Chelsea, Helena, Homewood and Hoover.