As a Spokane County resident you’ve probably heard a dozen times that humidity is removed by air conditioning. Unfortunately, the common assumption is that there is no inherent cost in allowing humidity to persist in their home. But, did you know it costs significantly more to remove humidity from the air with air conditioning than with a dehumidifier? Here’s why.
Water Vapor in Your Air Conditioner
Consider the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of water by one degree – one BTU. However, to change water from liquid to steam, another 10 BTUs are required. So, imagine how much energy it takes to condense water vapor from the air (in the form of humidity) into a liquid. This is what your air conditioner does whenever it processes humid air. It takes about 1,050 BTUs to condense one pound of moisture in the air into liquid.
The cost of running your air conditioner strictly for dehumidification can be huge, especially considering the fact that humidity is heaviest in the morning and evening when you probably don’t need your air conditioner every day (at least not early and late in the summer). Imagine, the cost difference if you used a dehumidifier to remove 150 or more pounds of moisture per week and an air conditioner when needed just to remove 15-20.
Negative Impact on How it Runs
Another thing to consider is that humidity can actually put an extra burden on your air conditioner. While the system is designed to remove that liquid from the air and get rid of it through the cooling coil and condensate drain, every extra minute the system is running is a bigger burden on it. Of course it will do its job for a few years, but the extra running time will add up, not only on your electricity bill but eventually on the machine itself.
The added pressure will result in eventual breakdown of the system and a need for early air conditioner replacement. The easiest solution is to purchase a dehumidifier. These run at a fraction of the energy level of a full AC system and work extremely well to remove humidity from your home. In fact, most air conditioners will only remove humidity after 20-30 minutes of continuous operation. For short cooling cycles, you may not even dehumidify the house. So a dehumidifier ensures higher levels of comfort all at a lower cost. Please contact ACI NW if you have questions about this.