If you’re stuck in the dehumidifier vs. air conditioning dilemma, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Today, we’ll walk you through the similarities and differences between both devices so that you're able to make an informed buying decision.
Let's get down to brass tacks.
Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioning: What They Do
Let’s start by creating a general scope of the functions of each of these devices, starting with dehumidifiers. A dehumidifier's primary job is to bring the humidity levels back to normal; anywhere between 30% and 50%, according to your natural climate, and whether it’s warm or cold.
When you reduce the extra humidity that is already present in the air, that can bring the temperature down one or two degrees; nevertheless, it’s not a noticeable change. The main aim here is to bring humidity levels down and make the air dryer lighter and easier to breathe.
On the other hand, air conditioners are merely concerned with the temperature. Their main job is to cool the air around you and bring the temperature down so that you’re more comfortable in general.
A lot of air conditioners come with filters and ionizer options, all of which improve the quality of the air around you. Still, the main goal remains the same: to cool down the room or the entire house to the specified air temperature.
Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioning: Mechanism
Now, we’ll discuss how each of these devices achieves its end result, and we’ll try to simplify the process as much as possible.
Let’s start with dehumidifiers. What dehumidifiers do is absorb the air already present inside the room and pass it through a few components that suck out all of the excess moisture. Next, that moisture is either stored in a tank.
Note that some dehumidifiers come with direct drainage through a hose. Such units don't come with storage tanks, eliminating the need to empty the tanks every now and then.
The components differ from one type of dehumidifier to the other, and that’s what we’ll discuss in the next point in detail; but the general concept remains the same. After the air has been dried, it comes out of the dehumidifier, and the cycle goes on.
On the other end of the spectrum, air conditioners bring in the air from the outside to the inside. Before that air can come anywhere near the inside of the room, it passes by an evaporator coil that absorbs the heat from it.
Another integral component of ACs is the refrigerant liquid, which does require replenishment now and then. This refrigerant also absorbs the heat from the air before it's blown into the room by the action of the fan.
The refrigerant, then, changes its state from liquid to gas and reaches the compressor, which in turn subjects the refrigerant gas to high pressure, turning it into high-pressure vapor. This is what is released outside of your house.
Types of Dehumidifiers
We've just mentioned that there are types of dehumidifiers and that each one of them tends to reduce the humidity in the air in a different way. So, let’s discuss each of these types in detail, as each one of them has its own pros and cons.
First, we’ve got the refrigerant dehumidifiers, which, as suggested by the name, use refrigerant liquid just like refrigerators, and that’s where the slight drop in temperature comes.
The refrigerant liquid has a cooling effect on the air particles; then, the air is passed over low-temperature metal plates, or condenser coils, so that all of the extra moisture condenses and falls into the water tank or the drainage hose.
Next, we have desiccant dehumidifiers, which are, in a nutshell, huge silica gel packs. Everyone knows silica gel packs; the small packages that come in all products to prevent humidity damage.
This silica gel is known as desiccant material, which is also present in this type of dehumidifier. When the air passes by this desiccant material, it absorbs all of the excess humidity and condenses it.
Types of Air Conditioners
Now let’s talk about the types of air conditioners. The difference between air conditioners isn’t really in the mechanism; it's in their capabilities. We’ve air conditioners that can cool down an entire house, and we've air conditioners that can manage a singular room.
1. Central Air Conditioner
This is the most common type in all houses, as it’s comprised of a central unit connecting to ducts that end with vents in all of the rooms. It's most commonly placed on the roof.
2. Window Air Conditioner
Those are suitable for singular rooms, and you’ll find that they’re comprised of two units. One of them is placed inside of the room, and the other is outside of the room; the window unit. The one outside absorbs the air and cools it down, while the one inside filters the air from all of the dust, mold, and any other particle that might’ve come in.
Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioning: Price
One of the most important aspects to think about before purchasing any big-ticket appliance is your budget. When talking about initial prices, air conditioning units, especially central ones, are definitely way more expensive than purchasing a dehumidifier.
Even if we’re speaking about window air conditioners, in the end, air conditioners are comprised of more parts, and their cycles are more complex than dehumidifiers; hence, there is more effort put into their manufacturing. That is why they sport pretty hefty price tags.
On the other hand, with dehumidifiers, there are some portable units and mini ones that are incredibly budget-friendly. So, you don’t need to break the bank to get your hands on a dehumidifier.
Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioning: Energy Efficiency
The last point that we’re going to discuss is related to each of these two devices’ energy consumption.
Dehumidifiers can end up using around 1/10 of the energy that an air conditioner would use. As we’ve just mentioned, air conditioners do a lot more in their process than dehumidifiers; hence, they end up using more energy in order to produce their output.
Still, advances are being made every day to make all appliances, not just air conditioners and dehumidifiers, more environmentally friendly and less costly by reducing their energy consumption.
Try to look for energy-efficient EnergyStar certified devices, which are gaining more and more popularity on the markets every day. That will help cut down on your power bill no matter which device you choose to go with.
At the end of the day, there can’t be a winner when discussing dehumidifier vs. air conditioning, as these two devices are quite different.
Plus, if your climate needs it, then you might have to invest in both of them, not just one, in order to improve the overall quality of the air around you as well as the quality of your life.
What you need to do is figure out what your needs are and what bothers you the most. Is it the level of humidity and moisture in the air making you unable to breathe well and encouraging mold growth in your house, or is it the high temperature causing you significant discomfort, making you feel exhausted, and out of power all of the time? Based on your answer, it should be clear to you which device you should opt for.