Dehumidifier vs. AC: Which Is Better For Your Home?

Are you considering a dehumidifier vs. AC to keep your home cool and comfortable? Keeping proper airflow and ventilation throughout your home is important because it keeps your home from becoming too stuffy and humid. Too much humidity in your home can lead to things like mold and mildew, as well as create an uncomfortable living environment for you and a musty smell in your home. Things like dehumidifiers and air conditioning can help to reduce humidity and keep the air flowing, but which of these two is better for your home?

Before deciding which of the two is better for your home, we need to first take a look at how both a dehumidifier and air conditioning system work. After that, we can determine which is better for your home based on things like energy use and cost. Let’s begin!

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

Dehumidifiers and AC both actually work in fairly similar ways. A dehumidifier sucks in all of the humid air inside of a room, and once the air is inside, it crosses coils that are cooled by refrigerant. Since air loses its ability to hold moisture as it becomes cooler, these coils cool that air down until all of the moisture in it condenses.

Once the air has gone through this cooling process, the water that was once in the air falls down into the dehumidifier’s container and the air, which is now humidity free, gets reheated and then blown back out into the room. This air that the dehumidifier blows out is slightly warmer and much drier than the air it took in.

You do need to empty out the water container once it gets full and clean the dehumidifier after the container fills up as well, so a dehumidifier does require a bit more work than simply turning on an air conditioner. Other than emptying the water container and cleaning it though, the dehumidifier does all of the work for you.

How Does Air Conditioning Work?

There are two types of air conditioners that are commonly found in homes: central and split system. Central air conditioning cools down your entire home, while a split system air conditioner only cools down whichever room it’s in.

Central air conditioning uses a refrigerant that changes from liquid to gas then back to liquid as it moves through a system of coils and tubes. These coils give off heat, so the refrigerant takes that heat and transfers it elsewhere, leaving cold air where the heat once was. This cold air then gets transferred back into your home, so basically, central air conditioning takes the warm air from inside your home and replaces it with cool air that gets delivered back into your home through its ductwork.

Split system air conditioners, on the other hand, use a refrigerant that start off as a gas and change into a liquid. The liquid travels through a similar set of coils and the fan circulates air to pass through something called evaporator fins, which remove heat from the air. Once the heat is removed from the air, the air conditioner blows cool air back into your home.


Dehumidifier vs. AC: Energy Use

One large difference between dehumidifiers and air conditioners is the amount of energy that they use to operate. Central air conditioning uses anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 watts of energy per hour when being operate constantly, as you would in the hotter summer months to keep your home cool. Dehumidifiers only use about 280 watts of energy per hour.

As you can see, that’s a pretty huge difference. The more energy that something uses means the more costly it becomes for you to operate it in your home too.

Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioning: Cost

Between dehumidifiers and air conditioners, dehumidifiers are by far the less expensive option. Central air conditioning can be very costly to install if your home doesn’t already have it, and even if it does, keeping that central air running all the time can really hike up your electric bill because of the amount of energy it uses.

Purchasing a split system air conditioner is less expensive that purchasing and having central air conditioning installed in your home, but it is still not as budget friendly as purchasing a dehumidifier. It is important to consider, however, that you will need to purchase more than one dehumidifier if you wish to remove the humidity from multiple rooms in your home, as the units only remove the humidity from the air in the room in which they are placed.

If you have a home with many different rooms, then it may become more costly to use dehumidifiers throughout your home because you will need to buy several so you can put one in each room you wish to use it in. Alternatively, you can install a whole home dehumidifier, which might be slightly more expensive. Even so, it would still probably be a bit cheaper to do this than to purchase and install central air conditioning in your home.

Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioning: Which Is Best?

Although dehumidifiers and air conditioners both work in similar ways, they each do different things. A dehumidifiers removes the humidity from the air, while an air conditioner removes the heat from the air. Both aid in giving your home the proper air flow that it needs to prevent it from becoming too stuffy or humid.

One is not necessarily better than the other because they both do different things. However, one may be better than the other for you and your home depending on what you wish to accomplish with your device. Do you want to cool down your home or remove the humidity from it? If you want to cool it down, then you would need an air conditioner, and if you want to remove the humidity, then you would need a dehumidifier.

 Dehumidifiers do have a few advantages over air conditioning though:
  • They use much less energy than an air conditioner does
  • They are more cost effective than air conditioners are, and
  • They prevent things like mold and mildew from growing in your home.

However, they do not cool down the air inside your home the way that air conditioning does.


As you can see with out comparison of dehumidifiers vs AC, they have both similarities and differences. When choosing which is best for you and your home, you must first determine what your needs are for your home. Hopefully, you now have the knowledge and tools to decide whether a dehumidifier or an air conditioner is the best fit for your home.

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