One of the most potent ways to keep ourselves comfortable in this hot and humid country we call the Philippines is to turn on an aircon. Aside from reducing the temperature of the air, did you know that an air conditioner can also reduce the humidity as well?
The dehumidifying effect is a by-product of the refrigeration cycle. When the evaporator absorbs heat from the moist air, the water vapors in the air condenses into water droplets. This, in effect, will reduce the humidity in the air being blown out of the air conditioner.
Keep reading on for a deeper explanation of this phenomenon.
How does an air conditioner reduce humidity?
All air conditioners work the same way: a chemical (called a refrigerant) gets converted from liquid to gas and back to liquid again through a set of coils inside the AC – this process absorbs the heat from the air. It also turns the water vapor in the air in to water droplets. How so?
Condensation is a change in the state of vapor into liquid. It usually happens when the vapor comes into contact with a cold surface.
Inside the air conditioner, the coldest surface is the evaporator coil. In fact, most of the water droplets are found on the evaporator. These droplets then collects and meanders down to the drain pan where it evaporates into the outdoor environment. This process takes away the moisture from the indoor air.
Fun fact: Willis Carrier, the father of the air conditioner, invented a machine that was primarily designed to control the humidity in a printing plant. He used cold water running through coils to achieve this. While the main purpose was to reduce humidity, he eventually got interested in the by-product: cold air.
How humidity affects our bodies
As we all know after years of living in the Philippines: it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.
We sweat when our bodies get too hot; the idea is that our sweat will eventually evaporate, producing a cooling effect on our bodies.
This bodily function is impaired when the humidity is too high. Basically, when the air is too humid, it cannot accommodate any more water vapor; Your sweat will not evaporate as it should, and you’ll end up feeling sticky and clammy.
How humidity affects cooling performance
Too much humidity may also have negatively affect your air conditioner.
Water vapor absorbs heat, this makes the air feel hotter than it actually is.
When the air is too humid, the air conditioner will have to work harder to remove the heat from the air as well as the heat absorbed by the water vapors. This will result in more energy consumption, higher bills, and an overworked compressor.
Additionally, since you will feel hotter than we actually are, the tendency is to turn the thermostat much lower and to make the AC run much longer. Your overworked compressor will have to work harder, and this can wear out its parts in the long run.
The other benefits of reducing humidity in the room
As we have noted in our previous article, here are the benefits of reducing the humidity in a room:
- Makes the room more comfortable
- Can protect your home from mold damage
- Helps with allergies and asthma
- Helps remove “kulob” odor
- Helps your aircon to be more energy efficient
In summary: Yes, and air conditioner will reduce the humidity in your room. Not only does this phenomenon make us more comfortable, it will also help your aircon work more efficiently.
- Sarokin, D. (2019, March 2). How to Explain the Process of Condensation. Sciencing. https://sciencing.com/explain-process-condensation-children-5124290.html
- United Technologies Corporation. (n.d.). Willis Carrier – The Invention That Changed The World – 1876-1902. Willis Carrier. Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://williscarrier.com/1876-1902.php