How to use a portable air conditioner as a dehumidifier
The level of relative humidity in your home is essential because it affects your comfort level and health. Besides feeling sticky and soggy, higher humidity levels promote mold growth and may worsen conditions for allergy and asthma sufferers.
All portable air conditioners have some impact on the relative humidity of a room. However, since dehumidifying is not the primary purpose of a portable air conditioner, it’s not as effective as a dehumidifier. To have the most significant impact on lowering the relative humidity levels in a room, a portable air conditioner must have a dehumidifier mode.
How does humidity happen?
Before understanding humidity, we have to do a quick refresh of some elementary school science.
What is the water cycle?
While over 70% of the earth’s surface is water, that is not enough to sustain life in the other 30%, where there is no water. The water cycle is the vehicle that ensures life can flourish anywhere on the planet.
How does the water cycle work?
Heat provides the energy needed to break the bonds which hold water together, allowing it to turn from a liquid into a vapor. This process is called evaporation. When that water vapor condenses, clouds form.
Eventually, the condensing vapor becomes too heavy to remain suspended in the air, and it falls back to earth as precipitation. That precipitation collects as water on the earth’s surface, where heat once again turns it into vapor, continuing the cycle.
What is humidity?
Humidity is a measure of the naturally occurring water vapor that is present in the air.
What is relative humidity?
The higher the temperature, the more vapor will move around and resist condensing. In short, hotter air can hold more water vapor (before condensing) than cooler air can. Relative humidity simply tells us how full the air is of water vapor at a specific temperature.
What is ideal indoor relative humidity?
While the percentages for ideal relative humidity levels may vary – even among government organizations – several studies published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website conclude that between 40-60% is the “optimal range for reducing growth opportunities for viruses, bacteria, and fungi.” If you want the healthiest home environment, strive to keep your relative humidity between 40-60%.
What is a dew point?
Now that we understand humidity and relative humidity, its importance to sustaining life and what the ideal levels should be in your home, there is one more bit of information needed to understand how a portable air conditioner can affect indoor relative humidity levels. Dew point.
A dew point is a specific temperature the air needs to be at for water to condense. When the vapor in the air condenses back into water, the humidity level drops.
How does a dehumidifier work?
The primary purpose of a dehumidifier is to remove water vapor from the air. The way it accomplishes…