Air conditioners and humidifiers are both used to create a more comfortable atmosphere within a home. Many homeowners have both types of units within the house. Nothing can stop a homeowner from deciding to run both units at the same time, but it's important to know whether or not you should.
Air that is exceedingly dry is uncomfortable for many people. Chapped lips, dry and flaking skin, nosebleeds and other problems are common when humidity is very low. Very dry air also causes problems with wood furniture and paint in the home. The humidifier turns water in its reservoir into a fine mist and propels it into the air in the home in order to raise the humidity to comfortable levels.
Air conditioners cool the home by pulling the hot air out of the house. At the same time, a substance cycles through the system, changing states from a liquid to a gas, thereby becoming cooled. When the refrigerant passes through the cool part of the cycle, it makes the refrigerator's coils cool. A fan then forces household air through the coils to produce cold air while the coils continue to absorb heat energy to repeat the cycle. This process also dehumidifies the air.
Fighting Against Each Other
The problem with running an air conditioner and a humidifier at the same time is the two appliances fight against each other in a way. Because the air conditioner cools the air partly by pulling humidity from it, you are basically wasting energy by continually putting more humidity into the air for the air conditioner to deal with. However, if the air becomes unbearably dry as a result of air conditioner, the options may be limited as to how to deal with it short of using a humidifier.
Some air conditioning units have features that make them into a humidifier or dehumidifier along with their air conditioning capabilities. If controlling the temperature and the humidity in your home simultaneously is difficult, this type of unit could be your best option. You won't have the hassle of dealing with multiple machines but you will be able to get your house at a temperature and humidity you can be happy with.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Indoor Air Facts No. 8: Use and Care of Home Humidifiers
- Natural Resources Canada: Cooling and Ventilation Equipment
- The Home Depot: Air Conditioners
- Air-Conditioning-and-Heating.com: Controlling Humidity Levels in the Home With ... Humidifiers
- Mayo Clinic: Humidifiers: Air Moisture Eases Skin, Breathing Symptoms
- The Weather Channel: Controlling Indoor Humidity
Hans Fredrick has been busy in the online writing world since 2005. He has written on diverse topics ranging from career advice for actors to tips for motorcycle maintenance. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan.