Is an Air Conditioner a Dehumidifier?

10 mins read
Air Conditioner a Dehumidifier

When house heating reduces the quantity of moisture in the air during the winter months, humidity levels can become a concern.

In summer, room conditions might become excessively muggy and damp, necessitating a dehumidifier.

Whether an air conditioner or a dehumidifier, your main goal is to deal with the humidity in your home. Or perhaps you may be running both appliances at the same time.

Air conditioners and dehumidifiers perform similar functions but produce slightly different effects. Both devices circulate hot air across cooling coils.

This cools the air and causes condensation, similar to how beads of water form outside a cold drink on a hot day. 

Consider why your air conditioner can technically function as a dehumidifier.

A standard air conditioner is not a dehumidifier, although it does dehumidify. Although an air conditioner dehumidifies the air, it is not its primary function.

The humidity control on an AC unit is insufficient for a mid-sized room in a particularly humid environment. On the other hand, a dehumidifier is intended to remove enormous moisture from the air.

Is an Air Conditioner a Dehumidifier?

No, not at all—unless it was explicitly designed for that. 

An air conditioner’s fundamental function is to remove hot air and replace it with cold air in a room; it also draws out humidity from the air as a byproduct.

However, the amount of moisture eliminated is insufficient to affect the ambient atmosphere visibly.

A dehumidifier is more effective since it can remove moisture from the room. However, while space temperature may naturally drop when humidity is removed, dehumidifiers do not provide any cool air.

So, as it operates, the air conditioner removes humidity from the air; it dehumidifies the air.

However, because this influence is insufficient to produce a substantial difference in humidity levels throughout the house, the AC is not considered a dehumidifier. 

You could say that an air conditioner can dehumidify, but it is not a dehumidifier.

So, in the same manner that your toaster produces heat, you wouldn’t use it to try to heat your house.

Can An Air Conditioner Be Used as A Dehumidifier?

Can An Air Conditioner Be Used as A Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifier Mode for AC units can be operated as a dehumidifier, making it useful when your area’s air is muggy and heavy.

An air conditioner works as a dehumidifier in dry mode instead of a relaxed mode. Some air conditioners offer a dry mode that can be used as a dehumidifier.

The dry function reduces humidity and is most useful at times of the year when it is incredibly humid, such as during the rainy season.

The temperature may not be hot enough to require your air conditioner to be turned on full blast during this season, but the humidity will be uncomfortable and irritating. 

This is the ideal time to use dry mode. Though the dry method will not remove all moisture from the space, it will make it more comfortable for the occupants.

How Does Dry Mode Operate?

An AC unit’s dry mode functions similarly to a large-scale dehumidifier. When the air conditioner is in aircon dry mode, the device’s fan and other internal components are turned on, but no cool air is blown out. 

Instead, the air in the room will travel through the air conditioner, with the water vapor condensing in the evaporator and removing moisture from the air. The now-dry air will then leave the device and return to the room.

Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioner – What Is the Difference?

Even though they are alike in several aspects, the fundamental difference between air conditioners and dehumidifiers is their principal purpose.

While air conditioners are responsible for cooling the air in a particular region, dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air.

The catch is that although an air conditioner circulates warm air and pushes cold air around a home, office, or other structure, it also removes moisture from the air it treats.

However, an air conditioner will not remove humidity or a dehumidifier because it is not its primary job.

As a result, dehumidifiers and air conditioners remove moisture from the air, lowering the humidity level in your home. AC units do so as a result of chilling the air.

However, dehumidifiers can raise the temperature somewhat in some situations. Therefore, you may fine-tune your climate by combining your air conditioner with a dehumidifier.

How Do Air Conditioners Operate?

Frigidaire FHWC054WB1 Window Air Conditioner, 5000 BTU Electronic Controls, White

An air conditioner is a complex assembly comprising various parts, the most important of which are the evaporator, condenser, compressor, and expansion valve.

A refrigerant is a fluid circulated via a system of pipes and is the primary medium by which heat is evacuated from a room.

The evaporator is the component that blows cool air into the room. This procedure cools the refrigerant before it is sent through the evaporator coils.

The refrigerant is then compressed into the compressor and converted into a high-temperature, high-pressure gas.

By this stage, the refrigerant has transformed into a liquid, and the cycle begins again.

How Do Air Dehumidifiers Operate?

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A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air without cooling it. The dry air does reduce the perceived temperature, but not to the same amount as an air conditioner.

In the most popular dehumidifiers, wet air is drawn in and cooled to a temperature where moisture condenses and segregates from the air.

This water is accumulated in a bucket or tray, which must be emptied regularly.

All of the moisture in the air is drawn in and drips into a bucket or tray mechanism that can be manually opened.

Unlike an AC unit, a dehumidifier does not release warm air into the room.

When to Opt for Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners?

When to Opt for Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners?

Choosing between the two appliances can be challenging to decide which one to buy. Air conditioners give improved cooling and, in some cases, heating, but dehumidifiers do not.

Your tastes, budget, living location, and house design greatly influence your chosen appliance.

Let us go over each of these points one by one:

Individual Preference

Everyone has their preferences regarding the room’s atmosphere. Some people prioritize having a strictly regulated temperature, while others prioritize a reduction in humidity.

A humid atmosphere can be more uncomfortable than a room with the same temperature but lower humidity.


The budget can be the decisive factor. Even though the appliances provide different functions, a comparison must be made while deciding between the two.

For example, an air conditioner typically costs more and requires additional installation fees. 

On the other hand, a dehumidifier has no post-purchase installation requirements and is frequently a portable plug-and-play machine.

They are also inexpensive but do not have the same cooling capabilities as an air conditioner.


As previously stated, humidity levels can be extremely high in areas around vast bodies of water.

Unfortunately, an air conditioner cannot remove enough moisture from the air to keep the space pleasant, and here is when the necessity for a dehumidifier becomes most apparent.

When Should You Use A Dehumidifier With Your Air Conditioner?

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The ordinary air conditioner delivers enough dehumidification when the humidity isn’t too high.

This should be enough if you reside where the humidity isn’t too excessive. However, if the humidity level is high, you will require a separate dehumidifier.

This indicates either an air conditioner with a built-in dehumidifier or an air conditioner with a separate dehumidifier.

If you use a portable room-sized air conditioner, many already include dehumidifiers.

The ultimate selection should be based on the humidity level in your area.

The higher the humidity, the more probable you will want a separate dehumidifier. Because standard air conditioners are only designed to handle a certain amount of humidity, they are ineffective when high humidity levels.

People Also Ask

Do you need a dehumidifier if you have an air conditioner?

When you use a dehumidifier with your air conditioner, you will obtain the optimum possible balance of cool and dry air in your home.

Because of the interaction between heat and moisture, your central air conditioner requires an ally to function more successfully in keeping a pleasant temperature in your home. 

Using a dehumidifier in your air-conditioned home will reduce and lessen your overall energy consumption. In addition, the dehumidifier makes it easier to eliminate moisture, allowing your air conditioner to cool your home faster.

You may quickly monitor or determine the current humidity level of your home by obtaining simple equipment called a hygrometer, which will measure your home’s humidity level automatically and rapidly.

Can you run an air conditioner and dehumidifier at the same time?

The answer is a resounding yes because using these two appliances will assist you in creating the ideal environment that you and your entire family require and deserve.

When the humidity level is exceptionally high and the temperature is scorching, you can run a dehumidifier and an air conditioner.

The dehumidifier will act as a backup for the air conditioner, reducing moisture in the room. Mold, mildew, and fungus will begin to grow in areas of the room, such as the walls, at such times. 

Basement storages are an example of where this combination may be required. 

Furthermore, by taking care of the humidity while the AC takes care of chilling the air, a dehumidifier can help protect the lifespan and minimize the pressure on the air conditioner.

Do all AC units have dehumidifiers?

Yes, the majority of air conditioners have dehumidifiers. The problem is that dehumidifying the air is not an air conditioner’s primary job.

As a result, the dehumidifier in a standard air conditioner isn’t always as effective as it should be. As a result, a separate dehumidifier is an ideal choice.

This holds for both central and portable air conditioners. So, for example, if you have a central air conditioner without a dehumidifier, it doesn’t exist.

The only thing there will be the natural dehumidification process that all air conditioners go through. But, again, if the humidity level in your area is exceptionally high, this will not suffice.

Why is my air conditioner not removing humidity?

There are several reasons why your air conditioner may not be eliminating enough humidity from your home, but here are a few of the most common:

  • The AC unit is too huge. If the compressor unit on your air conditioner is too large, it may be cooling your home too quickly. While this may not appear to be an issue, your dehumidifier may be unable to keep up if your home is cooled too quickly.
  • The dehumidifier operates too frequently. It may occasionally perform its cycle too often, resulting in inadequate dehumidification. Whether you suspect this is the case, try resetting the humidistat and seeing if the moisture disappears.

Here are a few DIY methods for lowering the humidity in your home:

  • Monitor to see if the air conditioner is cooling. Begin by ensuring that the air conditioner operates appropriately and observing that the temperature typically drops while the system works.
  • Examine for Water Leaks. If your AC unit is cooling but not removing humidity, a leak could allow moisture to enter your home and generate excess moisture. Determine the source of the moisture to ensure that nothing unusual is present within the system.
  • Change the dehumidifier settings. If you can’t discover the source of the excess moisture, try modifying the dehumidifier’s settings to raise dehumidification.

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