As we approach the summer season, many homes will be turning on the AC unit to stay comfortable. However, the temperature is not the only factor in a comfortable indoor environment. Indoor humidity also plays a role in comfort.
Many households use humidifiers to add moisture to the air. Humidity added to the atmosphere can help with comfort and health issues. You may wonder if you can use a humidifier and your air conditioner at the same time.
The short answer is yes. You can use a humidifier and an AC together to make you feel more comfortable. However, it might increase the workload of AC and lower the efficiancy, causing malfunction and mold growth.
Read on to learn how to properly use your humidifier and air conditioner simultaneously.
Can You Use Your Humidifier With Air Conditioner?
To answer this question, it helps to understand a bit about humidifiers and what an air conditioner does.
How Does My AC Work?
Central AC units operate using refrigerant compressed through copper lines to cool the air. The compressed refrigerant then vaporizes, causing a cooling effect. The cooled vapor runs through the evaporator coil in your AC. The air in your house passes over the evaporator coils cooling the air.
When the air gets cooled, it can not hold as much moisture. Moisture collects on the evaporator coil and drips off into a drip pan. Drain lines take the condensed water out of the house.
How Does My Humidifier Work?
Humidifiers do just what the name says, add humidity to the air or humidify it. There are several reasons you may want to increase the moisture in your home. Some health conditions such as allergies benefit from higher humidity levels.
According to most sources, the ideal indoor humidity is between 30-50%. Humidifiers are used in dry climates to increase comfort in homes. However, adding too much moisture can cause different issues.
There are several types of humidifiers available. Humidifiers can be cool air or warm air humidifiers. You can purchase a humidifier for a single room, and whole-home humidifiers are available too.
After figuring out how these two home appliances work, we can conclude that you can use a humidifier at the same time as using your air conditioner. Just be aware that while your humidifier is adding moisture to the air, your air conditioner is removing it. Some problems can occur running both concurrently.
Problems of Running Both Units at the Same Time
There are a few things that you need to be aware of if you are running your AC and humidifier simultaneously.
More Appliances Mean More Utility Costs
In some areas of the country, humidity levels are high enough that you wouldn’t want to run a humidifier. Running two appliances at once means you’re paying more for electricity. If you are worried about your home humidity, it’s a good idea to purchase a hygrometer.
Hygrometers tell you what the humidity level in your home is. You can purchase simple hygrometers for under $10. This will let you monitor the level in your home and keep it at the ideal 30-50% range.
Higher Humidity Increases the Workload for the AC
Higher humidity means there is more water in the air. Water takes more energy to heat and cool than air does. Think about when you turn on your stove to boil water. As soon as you turn your stove on, the air above the burner gets hot. However, it takes much longer for that pot of water to boil.
The same is valid for cooling down. That boiling pot of water will stay hot for a long time on your stove. However, the air above the burner cools almost as soon as you turn off the burner.
If there is more water in the air, your air conditioner needs to work harder to cool the air. Also, all this moisture condenses on the evaporator coils. If there is not sufficient airflow, this can cause other problems.
Your AC Itself Can Get Too Cold
If you’ve been around AC units for any time at all, you have probably experienced an AC freezing up. When the AC freezes, the unit stops cooling your home.
The AC freezing is most often caused by poor airflow over the evaporator coil due to a dirty filter. However, if there is excess moisture, this moisture increases the issue by creating ice on the coil.
Too Much Moisture Can Cause Mold
Molds are a fungus that decomposes organic matter. All the wood and natural fibers in your home are organic matter. Mold growth can be hard to detect. The best deterrent to mold is maintaining lower humidity levels.
If your home humidity increases above the recommended level, mold growth can become an issue. It can destroy your home and belongings and also provoke serious health issues.
When Should You Use a Humidifier and AC Together?
It seems obvious, but the best time to use a humidifier is when the air is dry. The air conditioner further dries out the air by condensing moisture. If your home falls below the ideal humidity level, a humidifier can correct this issue.
Keeping your home at the ideal humidity level helps with health issues such as dry skin and allergies. Having moist air in the home can improve breathing and reduce snoring. Aside from health benefits, wood furniture and plants in your home benefit from proper humidity. Proper humidity keeps wood from drying out and cracking.
Using your humidifier with your AC will depend significantly on your local climate. People living in drier climates will want to use a humidifier with their AC. The US Department of Energy has a publication identifying climate regions around the country.
Both can be run together if you keep an eye on your humidity level, and purchasing a hygrometer will help you maintain the perfect humidity in your home. Running both at the right times will keep your home at a comfortable temperature and humidity.
Besides, a humidifier can also work with an air purifier without canceling out each other.