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Dual Role of Air Conditioners: Basic Dehumidification

Nearly everyone who uses a central air conditioner is well aware of its primary purpose, which is to cool the space it’s located in during the hot summer and keep it comfortable for occupants. Did you know, however, that the AC also has a second dual role that’s often very important? This role is found in the realm of dehumidification.

At Thompson’s Comfort Connection, we’re here to offer a wide range of furnace and air conditioning installations, repairs and related services for clients around Sandy, Midvale, Draper, Cottonwood Heights, Riverton and nearby areas. We’ll walk you through all the important functions of your heating and air setup, including the multiple functions your air conditioner plays. Here are some basics on this secondary function that should not be overlooked.

Sensible Versus Latent Heat

To fully grasp the importance of dehumidification in air conditioning, you must first understand the two types of heat that are involved in cooling: sensible and latent heat. Sensible heat is what we feel as temperature changes on our skin or other surfaces, while latent heat is responsible for changing the phase of water from a liquid to a gas.

To put it another way, sensible heat refers to the number that you can read on your thermostat at any given time. In contrast, latent heat is not shown on a thermostat and must be calculated by examining the dew point temperature and relative humidity of the air.

How AC Controls Humidity

So how does your AC actually control humidity levels? The answer lies in its cooling process. As warm air is pulled into the AC unit, it passes through evaporator coils that are filled with refrigerant. This refrigerant absorbs heat from the air, lowering its temperature and causing moisture to condense on the coils.

As this moisture accumulates, it drips down into a drain pan and then exits through a drain line. This process not only removes heat from the air, but also removes moisture, effectively reducing humidity levels.

Benefits of Dehumidification

Now that you understand how dehumidification works in your air conditioning system, let’s discuss its benefits. First and foremost, it helps to keep the air inside your home feeling more comfortable by reducing excessive moisture. This can prevent issues such as mold growth and musty odors.

In addition, dehumidification can also improve indoor air quality by reducing the amount of pollutants and allergens that thrive in moist environments. It can also help extend the life of your AC unit by preventing excess strain on the system.

How to Check Your Humidity Levels

Are you wondering if your AC is effectively controlling humidity levels in your home? You can check the relative humidity using a hygrometer, which is a device specifically designed for this purpose. Ideally, you want to maintain relative humidity levels between 30-50% for optimal comfort and air quality.

If you find that your AC is not keeping humidity levels within this range, it may be a sign of an underlying issue that requires professional assistance. Contact Thompson’s Comfort Connection for reliable HVAC services and expert advice on maintaining proper humidity levels in your home.

What About Low Humidity Levels?

In a place like Utah, which is a dry desert climate, low humidity levels can also be a problem. When the air is too dry, it can cause health issues such as dry skin, throat irritation, and respiratory problems.

To combat this issue, some AC units have built-in humidifiers that add moisture to the air as it circulates through the system. This is especially beneficial during winter months when indoor air tends to be drier due to heating systems.

This is one area where working with professional HVAC technicians can be particularly helpful. They can assess your unique humidity needs and recommend solutions to maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor environment.

While the primary function of an air conditioner may be to cool the air, its ability to control humidity levels is just as crucial for maintaining comfort and health in your home. Be sure to regularly check your AC’s dehumidification capabilities and seek professional assistance if needed to ensure optimal performance.

And remember, at Thompson’s Comfort Connection, we’re always here to provide reliable services and advice for all your HVAC needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for any and all AC repair and installation needs, whether you’re in Sandy, Midvale, Draper, Cottonwood Heights, Riverton or any nearby area!


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