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Dehumidifier vs Air Conditioner: What’s the Difference?

Published by Luke Weiden

Air conditioners and dehumidifiers work in similar ways but deliver slightly different results. Both devices run warm air over cooling coils. Doing so cools air and creates condensation, like the beads of water that form on the outside of a cold drink on a hot day. However, the devices also generate heat, which only the air conditioner will funnel outdoors.

Because the two devices have different goals, they rely on different sensors to know when to operate. Central air conditioners kick into gear when their thermometers measure temperatures higher than the temp you’ve programmed into your thermostat. Dehumidifiers rely on hygrometers to signal when relative humidity levels exceed your ideal levels and activate accordingly.

Once temperatures reach a comfortable level, air conditioners cycle on and off several times every hour. As a result, they’re often unable to effectively manage excess humidity levels on their own. This can leave your space feeling cool and clammy, which is less than ideal. Dehumidifiers ignore temperature, working only to eliminate moist air.

So, both dehumidifiers and air conditioners remove moisture from the air, reducing the level of humidity in your home. AC units do so as a byproduct of cooling the air while in some cases dehumidifiers can actually raise the temperature slightly. By pairing your AC with a dehumidifier, you can fine-tune your climate any way you like.

With temperatures and humidity levels rising, air conditioning season is fast approaching. But here in Chicago, humidity typically becomes an issue before it makes sense to turn on the AC. Installing a whole-house dehumidifier is the perfect way to remove humidity from the air during these cool, clammy months. Plus, doing so will improve your indoor air quality.

If you need help controlling the climate in your home, we can help. At Deljo, we’ve spent nearly 100 years keeping clients comfortable. From AC service to dehumidifier installations, we can make sure your home has the equipment it needs to keep you content. Contact us today to learn more about our various home comfort solutions or to schedule a service call.