Do I need a dehumidifier or air conditioner?

We often get calls from potential customers asking us ‘Do I need a dehumidifier or an air conditioner?’
The question is most asked during the warm summer months when the air in your home often gets clammy (from high humidity) and warm. Those staying nearer the coastal towns, particularly in the South East of England, but not solely in those regions, will know all too well what the term “humidity” means. It is that damp, clammy and sticky atmosphere that fills the air. High humidity coupled with higher temperatures results in an uncomfortable, heavy and hot feeling. In these type of conditions getting rid of the humidity also gets rid of most of the heat.

We don’t like jargon here at Breathing Space, so to keep things in normal terms, air can hold a fixed amount of water vapor depending upon the temperature. All we need to know is that quite simply, the higher the humidity, the higher our level of discomfort. When our homes are suffering from high humidity they often smell musty too.

So, what do I need then?
Firstly, it is important to understand the difference between an air conditioner and a dehumidifier. Your objective will ultimately decide which one you need. A dehumidifier will remove the excess humidity without causing temperature to drop significantly. An air conditioner will reduce the humidity AND lower the temperature significantly. So, dehumidifiers are best used in situations where moisture ( humidity ) is a problem but where significant cooling is not required. An air conditioner is best suited when the primary aim is for cooling, even though it also acts as a dehumidifier by default.
Many good portable air conditioners nowadays have a function whereby you can actually separate the cooling and dehumidifying functions. This is great because you can then use the air conditioner as a powerful dehumidifier in the winter ( without making the house even colder!) and then switch it over to use as an out and out air conditioning unit in the summer months.

Tech Alert!
A dehumidifier uses both hot and cold coils. The room air is sucked into the dehumidifier and passed over the cold coils, causing condensation. The air then passes over the hot coils on the way out, restoring the area to room temperature.
An air conditioner only has cold coils. So, the vapour still condenses, but the air that is released back into the room is much cooler.
You never need actually need to run an air conditioner and a dehumidifier at the same time.

Dehumidifiers tend to be less expensive than air conditioning units, and also use less electricity. However, no matter how powerful a dehumidifier you buy, it is never going to really reduce the temperature of a hot room down to normal levels. It will however keep humidity levels low and protect you and your home from dampness, mould and condensation all year round. It is also smaller and less noisy than an air conditioning unit.

An air conditioner costs more to buy and more to run, but it’s job is to keep you cool during the summer months and it does this infinitely better than a dehumidifier will. Also, if you so wish, you can use your air conditioner in the winter to do the job of a dehumidifier. So, probably if you want to cover all the bases and be cool & dry in the summer and dry in the winter, then an good portable air conditioner  or  Easy Install wall mounted air conditioning unit is probably the way forward. Don’t forget we love to talk to our customers, so please feel free to call us on 01207 507444 if you would like to talk your options through in greater detail!

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