What Is the Dry Mode on an Air Conditioner?

A feature found on a variety of window and central air conditioning units, the "dry mode" reduces the amount of humidity in a room or area. The function is ideal for seasons such as spring or fall when the humidity may be high, but it is not hot enough to warrant blowing cold air. Using dry mode is not the same as using a dehumidifier, and it doesn't remove all of the moisture from a room or area.

Air Conditioner
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An air conditioning unit in a window.

Dry Mode Operation

When your air conditioner is in dry mode, the device's fan and inner components are running, but the unit is not blowing out cold air. Instead, air passes through the device, humidity condenses on the unit's evaporator and drier air exits the device. The drier air fills the room or area where the air conditioner is located. This dehumidification process removes some moisture from the room or area but not as much as a standalone dehumidifier. The dry mode also consumes less electrical energy than the cool mode.

Standalone Dehumidifiers

If you have a large room or area you need to dehumidify, purchase and use a standalone dehumidifier instead of using your air conditioner's dry mode. Dehumidifiers are available at hardware, home improvement and retail stores, as well as online outlets specializing in appliances and air conditioners.

Switching Modes

You can safely switch from dry mode to cool mode or other modes on your home or business's air conditioner without any problems occurring within the unit. You do not have to power off the unit or wait for a period of time before switching modes. Your air conditioner will immediately switch to the mode you want.

Dry Mode Vs. Fan Mode

Not all air conditioners contain a dry mode feature, and setting your air conditioner to fan mode is not the same. The fan mode outputs cool air to a room or area but can't remove any moisture. If your air conditioner doesn't have a dry mode, you cannot purchase a component that will add the feature.