Alaska summers are glorious, there’s no doubt about it, but they’re also surprisingly humid. If you think about the most humid states across the country, the first one to spring to mind is probably Hawaii, closely followed by Florida and Louisiana. However, the state with this highest humidity over the whole year is actually Alaska, and when air warms up, its ability to hold moisture increases.
One of the many advantages to getting a new air conditioning unit is that it can help dehumidify your home in summer, making it a much more comfortable place to hang out when the temperature spikes. Stay tuned, because we’re about to explain how this works and why it’s so cool (get it?).
Want to skip ahead and just order a new A/C unit for your home? Talk to our expert technicians about your needs when you schedule an appointment.
While you’re here, consider maintaining your furnace this summer. Try our Comfort Club Membership for 10% off all repairs and more great benefits!
How does an air conditioner work?
Ready for a crash course in HVAC basics? The first thing to know that that air conditioning units don’t actually cool their air – instead, the strip the heat out of it and transfer the heat outdoors.
Air conditioning units have three different stations that are relevant here: an evaporator, a compressor, and a condenser. When the warm air inside your home is blown over the evaporator coil, the coil absorbs the heat, and a fan blows the cold air through ducts around your home. The heat is absorbed by a chemical known as a refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a gas, and continues towards the compressor. The compressor then squeezes the gas, raising the temperature, before the refrigerant is transferred outside the home to a condenser, where it returns to normal. One the heat is transferred outside, the refrigerant cycles back inside, and the process repeats.
You could also sum it up like this:
- The refrigerant absorbs heat from inside.
- The refrigerant gets hot.
- The refrigerant transfers the heat outside.
- The refrigerant gets cold.
Can an air conditioner dehumidify your home?
Now that you have a basic understanding of the process, what does that mean for humidity? Too much moisture inside your home can lead to trouble – aside from making hot days feel hotter, it can create a breeding ground for things like mold and mildew, especially in areas with poor ventilation. This can make sleep challenging, and can also cause members of your family to have allergic reactions, causing runny noses, itchy eyes, sneezing, skin rashes, and a range of other symptoms.
So, can an air conditioner dehumidify your home? The short answer is yes, absolutely. This occurs during the condensation phase, when the refrigerant is transferred outside, because moisture from the air is drained as the refrigerant cools. This can increase comfort inside your home significantly, and means you won’t have to run the air conditioning unit as hard to start feeling the results.
Read more: How can you improve your indoor air quality?
Most efficient way to dehumidify your home
While air conditioners do dehumidify the air inside your home, they’re not necessarily the most efficient way to go about it. If you live in a low-lying area of the Mat-Su Valley – for example, by a lake – you might find that air conditioning alone it’s really enough to make a difference.
The optimal humidity inside your home is between 35% and 55%, depending on your comfort level. There are a lot of things you can do to help your home maintain the right level:
- Open windows and doors and allow plenty of fresh air to flow.
- Run exhaust fans in bathrooms to remove excess moisture.
- Check that your central air conditioner drain is working.
- Fix all leaks and remove any mold growth or damage.
- Empty and clean evaporator trays in refrigerators and air conditioning units.
You might also want to consider investing in a dehumidifier. Here are HeatSource Mechanical, we’re proud to be premier Lennox dealers. Lennox offers a range of humidity control products, such as the HCWHD Whole-Home Dehumidifier, which is Energy Star qualified. It comes in three sizes and can either dehumidify your entire house, or a single zone, depending on your family’s needs.
The best part about investing in a product like this is the long-term savings. Dehumidified air feels cooler, so you can leave your thermostat higher, and save on your electrical bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, increasing your thermostat by as little as two degrees can save between 5% and 7% on energy bills. This can add up to a lot if we have a few hot summers in a row. It’s also really quiet to run, and you don’t have to worry about emptying water buckets all the time.
Manage your humidity with an ultra-smart thermostat
Another thing that can make a big difference to your humidity levels and your bank balance is an ultra-smart thermostat like the iComfort S30. Programmable thermostats like this one offer great features like active monitoring that help keep the air quality in your home at an optimal level.
The iComfort S30 has the latest technology, including a “Smart Away” mode that can detect whether you’re at home or not and adjust the temperature accordingly, as well as a “Feels Like” technology that takes in factors like outdoor temperature and humidity to ensure the temperature inside feels just right. It’s compatible with Alex, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and more.
Ask your HVAC experts about dehumidifying your home
Every home is different. Humidity can vary widely, depending on the size, the location, the air flow, the proximity to water sources, and the number of people living inside. Your best bet is to call your local HVAC technicians and ask for a professional opinion as to what will make your home comfortable this summer. Here at HeatSource Mechanical, we’re premiere Lennox dealers, and we’ve been proudly serving families in the Mat-Su Valley for 35 years. Talk to us today.
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