Air conditioners are designed to bring air down to a lower temperature. Many people wonder, though, whether or not their air conditioner can do more for them. To know whether an air conditioner can function fill in as a dehumidifier, you need to understand how both appliances work.
Air Conditioner and Dehumidifier Functions
An air conditioning unit works by taking air from the room and passing it through cooling coils. The air conditioner then expels the cooled air back into the room, bringing the temperature of the room down. Air conditioners expel heated Freon outside the room, and moisture drawn from the room is also drawn outside and thus evaporates. In a dehumidifier, however, air is cooled first, then heated. Moisture drawn out of a room by a dehumidifier isn't removed from the room, but is instead collected in a pan or drain.
Using Air Conditioning as a Dehumidifier
An air conditioner can be considered a weak dehumidifier. Both air conditioners and dehumidifiers draw moisture from the air within a room, reducing the humidity in a room. While an air conditioner does function similarly to a dehumidifier, it will not do exactly the same work, since an air conditioner's capacity for dehumidifying is limited.
For more potent dehumidification, you would need to use an actual dehumidifier. However, if you try using a dehumidifier while running air conditioning, you may find that it makes both devices work twice as hard.
For air drying and cooling capabilities combined, you can get your air conditioner fitted with a dehumidifying heat pipe. Tthis will increase your air conditioner's ability to function as a dehumidifier while still properly cooling the air.
You can also purchase a separate unit, called a refrigerant dehumidifier. Refrigerant dehumidifiers make the air somewhat cooler than regular dehumidifiers, but not as cool as an air conditioner, and have all the air-drying abilities of a dehumidifier.