Can A Dehumidifier Be Used As An Air Conditioner?

During hot summer months, it can become necessary to purchase some sort of air conditioner to keep you and your family cool.

However, if you live in an environment that is humid and damp, you may also be interested in purchasing a dehumidifier for your home to help reduce moisture in the air and help prevent mold.

A dehumidifier can’t typically be used as an air conditioner or a sole replacement of one. A dehumidifier can, however, make a home feel more comfortable by reducing the relative humidity but it will release warmer air back into the room, unlike an air conditioning unit that will release cooler air.

We don’t personally use our dehumidifier as an air conditioner and have a separate air conditioning unit.

Our dehumidifier is the desiccant type which releases warm air and makes the room much warmer through use.

Dehumidifier Plugged In
Our desiccant dehumidifier running

Depending on where you live and what type of dehumidifier you’re using, a dehumidifier can actually be more helpful than an air conditioner because it can save you money in the long run while performing both functions.

Keep reading to see how a dehumidifier can benefit both your wallet and your home.

How Can A Dehumidifier Be Used As An Air Conditioner?

When living in a humid climate, part of the heat you are feeling is the moisture in the air that has been evaporated because of the warmer temperature.

A dehumidifier works to remove this moisture from the air.

This means the air left behind will be less humid and drier, which will make it seem much cooler than it was before.

Besides just making the air feel cooler, when there is less moisture in the air, this will remove the sticky or sweat sensation that comes with humidity. You’ll therefore sweat less and not experience the muggy sensation that usually accompanies humid air.

However, even though a dehumidifier can make it seem like it’s cooling your home, it’s just the feeling of a less humid environment.

A dehumidifier will actually make the air in your home warmer.

Our own dehumidifier (the desiccant version) makes the room we’re using it in much warmer.

Dehumidifier Air Outlet
Warm air comes out of our dehumidifier

Should You Use A Dehumidifier As An Air Conditioner?

This depends on the region where you live.

If you live somewhere humid, then you most definitely should use a dehumidifier as an air conditioner.

When you live in a humid place, you should also be concerned about possible mold or water damage to your home from the humidity. A dehumidifier can help prevent both of these things while also cooling your home.

An air conditioner would only lower the temperature of the air while letting the mold grow freely.

Mold and other forms of water damage are very pricey problems to solve and often lower the value of your home. Not only that, but air conditioners can be very expensive to run.

A dehumidifier is a lower-cost alternative that can perform the same function for a fraction of energy usage. This can make a dehumidifier a better choice for your wallet and the environment.

However, if you live in a very hot and humid climate then a dehumidifier typically won’t help you feel more comfortable because it will still be very hot.

In this instance, an air conditioning unit should be used alongside a dehumidifier.

It may be beneficial to run your dehumidifier alongside a dedicated air conditioner in certain climates

How Does A Dehumidifier Work?

A refrigerant dehumidifier takes in the moist air and passes it over an evaporator coil.

The moisture in the air then sticks to the coil and is deposited in a container as water that is attached to the dehumidifier. Depending on the model of dehumidifier you have, you may need to empty this bucket yourself.

It will only turn on when the moisture content exceeds a certain level. This means it generally spends less time running than an air conditioner does.

Dehumidifiers are also often placed inside the home. This is a stark contrast to air conditioners that are typically placed outside the home. Since a dehumidifier doesn’t have to battle the outside air temperature as it works, this lowers the energy it takes to run it. Dehumidifiers are also usually placed in just one room or a group of smaller rooms at a time.

Why Use A Dehumidifier

Running a dehumidifier can help improve air quality, thus helping people who tend to have health issues associated with poor air quality, like asthma.

And because a dehumidifier removes more than just moisture from the air, but also pollen and dust, they can also help people who suffer from conditions like seasonal allergies.

Our dehumidifier has 3 filters (more about them here) and helps to improve air quality just by using it to collect moisture.

Dehumidifier HEPA Filter
The range of filters found in a dehumidifier can help to improve air quality

It also has a dedicated air purifying mode (where no water is collected) for increased air quality.

Can You Use A Dehumidifier And An Air Conditioner?

Even if you already have an air conditioner that came with your house, this doesn’t mean that you, too, can’t benefit from running a dehumidifier in your home.

It’s actually in your best interest to consider running the two side by side as they can help one another to function more effectively and last longer.

This is because an air conditioning unit functions better when it cools dry air rather than air-filled with moisture.

Running a dehumidifier can help to lengthen the life of your air conditioner overall. It will also lead to you needing to run your air conditioner less, and as a result, you will save money.

Additionally, all the benefits mentioned above, such as better air quality, don’t hold true when you just run an air conditioner. Thus, if someone in your house suffers from asthma or severe allergy symptoms, then you should definitely run a dehumidifier in addition to your air conditioner.

When Should You Not Use A Dehumidifier?

Although the list of benefits associated with using a dehumidifier is long, there are some people who will not benefit from using a dehumidifier.

And this is because a dehumidifier cannot help someone who lives in a dry climate.

If you live in a hot and dry climate and try to use a dehumidifier as an air conditioner, you may find that the unit doesn’t sense any moisture in the air, and therefore doesn’t turn on.

Not only that, but if it does turn on since there is no moisture to remove from the air, the dehumidifier will just be running and producing heat while doing nothing for the room. This will heat up your home instead of cooling it.

Choosing The Right Size Dehumidifier

There are several different size dehumidifiers, from those that are portable to ones that are so large they are built into your home.

The size that you need for your home will depend on the level of humidity you are battling as well as the size of your room. It is important that you choose the right size to reap all the benefits of running a dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers are rated based on the amount of water they can remove from the air in a twenty-four-hour time period. For example, a 30-pint dehumidifier can remove 30 pints of moisture from the air over the course of a day.

A 30-pint humidifier is recommended for a slightly damp room or a very damp but small room. For larger rooms, look into a 50-pint humidifier. And if you have a really bad moisture problem in your home, then you will want to invest in a 70-pint dehumidifier.

Can A Dehumidifier Work As An Air Conditioner?

Whether you’re looking to save money or simply have better air quality in your home, a dehumidifier can help.

A dehumidifier is especially useful in humid climates as the lower humidity can feel like the air has been conditioned.

However, as dehumidifiers actually produce heat rather than release cooler air, a dehumidifier needs to be used alongside an air conditioning unit in very warm and humid climates.

If you already have an air conditioner, don’t worry. A dehumidifier can still be a great addition to your home. Just make sure you select the right size dehumidifier for your home, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying cooler and cleaner air.

Further Reading

Does A Dehumidifier Make A Room Cooler Or Warmer?

Can A Dehumidifier Prevent Condensation?

Can A Dehumidifier Run Constantly?

Does A Dehumidifier Need To Be On All The Time?