What’s the Difference Between Air Conditioner and Dehumidifier?

Difference Between Air Conditioner and Dehumidifier

When it comes to dehumidifier and air conditioner, you should have in mind that both of them tend to produce dry and fresh air, but the principles are different in general. So how do they work?

Both machines use a similar mechanism but with an idea to provide a different result. They tend to circulate refrigerants through a continuous loop, and while it moves back and forth between liquid and gas states, the energy changes will affect the heat and levels of air humidity

A liquid refrigerant tends to pass through evaporator or expansion valve and will transition into a gas. It will absorb the heat during the phase shift and will pass through a series of cooling coils that will pull the heat out of it.

Since the cold air retains less water than warm one, it will condense on the evaporator coils and cold metal. Then the condenser will convert gas back into the liquid, and this particular phase will expel plenty of heat while dumping it outside.

How Does Air Conditioning Work?

Air conditioning systems will keep your business or home cool during the hot summer days. The main idea is to convert the gas to liquid and then does it back again similarly as we have explained above.

The air conditioner features three main parts: the condenser, the compressor, and the evaporator. Therefore, the unit’s condenser and compressor are located in the outside part, while in-house, you will find the evaporator.

The cooling fluid will reach the compressor in form of gas, and it will squeeze it, and then molecules will pack close together. The fluids will exit compressor at high pressure, and as it leaves, it will become much more relaxed than before.

The fluid will find its way to the evaporator through a minuscule, which is a narrow hole, and when the pressure drops, the liquid will evaporate into a cold gas.

How Do Dehumidifiers Work?

Most of the times, we do not stop to think about air within our households, mainly due to the idea that breathing is something that we have to do, and the air is invisible. Therefore, a dehumidifier functions as a vacuum cleaner that sucks the air from your room and takes the moisture out of it.

Then it will blow it back inside wholly changed so that you can remove the amounts of moisture. Have in mind that condensed humidity will dip into a collection tank that you have to empty from time to time.

It works by implementing two steps: refrigeration, which includes cooling air so that you can remove the moisture inside and by absorption where it uses moisture and absorb it into a drying material.


This particular type of dehumidifiers are sucking moist air through a grill on one side, while the electric fan will draw it inward. The warm air will pass through cold pipes and as the air-cools, the moisture will turn into liquid water and drip downward of the pipes. Finally, it will move over an air free of moisture and warm it back into an original temperature. It will blow both dry and warm air through another grille, and the humidity will remain in collecting bucket or tray at the bottom of the machine.


Have in mind that you can also find dehumidifiers that do not work by using refrigeration process. Some of them work by mopping the water out of the air by using water-holding materials and squeezing the water from them so that you can remove it with ease. The action of collecting the moisture, including the process of absorption in which water soaks into something and adsorption in which you can pick the water on the surface of some material.

Differences between Air Conditioners and Dehumidifiers

Even though air conditioner and dehumidifier operate by using the similar principle of heat-exchange, there are differences that you should remember before you make up your mind. The main concern is whether they will move fresh or warm air and what they will bring afterward:

Cold and Warm Air Movement

You should have in mind that air conditioners feature fan systems that will help you circulate the room temperature air by cooling coils and pumping out the chilly air so that you can enjoy in summertime. Dehumidifiers do not care about heat, which is outside, because they have a fan that pulls the humid air and they expel the dry air afterward, but the warm air gets inside during the hot days. On the other hand, AC units are moving the warm air outside, while dehumidifiers are dumping warm air inside, which negates the cooling effect.


Air conditioner and dehumidifier can help you deal with exceptional levels of moisture, but they are doing it differently as well. AC units, as well as dehumidifiers, can condense moisture on their cooling coils. However, air conditioner tends to condensate in a pan that will get out from the compressor and through drainage tube or drip edge. You can rest assured because moisture will leave the house, while dehumidifiers will pull the water out of the air and place it into the water reservoir with hose attachment port for drainage. Most of them feature automatic shutoffs with an idea to prevent spillage that may happen if you avoid turning the machine off.


Even though you can see that these machines work entirely different when it comes to the general process of operation, but people still think that they will provide you the same effect.

The main similarity is that both AC unit and dehumidifier will help you remove excess moisture out of your home air, but the goal of AC unit is to help you cool your household, while dehumidifier will circle the same air without affecting its temperature.

Therefore, if you want cooling effects, you should get AC unit so that you can enjoy all the way. On the other hand, after summer passes, you can start using a dehumidifier, because it would be useless to combine these two machines because they are working against each other.



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