The Providence Journal recently answered the question of whether you get more comfort from an air conditioner than a dehumidifier.
Q: In the summer, it is often not the temperature that's a problem, but the humidity, so I end up putting on the window air conditioners units more often than I would like to. My question is this: is it more energy efficient to run a dehumidifier or two in the house, or use AC window air conditioner to do this?
A: This is a timely question as we move into the hot and muggy summer months and one that touches a nerve for me. I thrive in cool, dry weather and it is an ongoing challenge to keep my home and office comfortable without breaking my energy budget.
I posed your question to Robert Cerio, a certified energy manager and instructor in the University of Rhode Island's Master Energy Program. According to Cerio, in hot and humid weather, you will get more comfort per kilowatt from a room air conditioner than from a dehumidifier.
"Room air conditioners and dehumidifiers both remove moisture from the air" explains Cerio. "The big difference is that dehumidifiers also add heat to the room whereas window air conditioners remove moisture and then cool the air before releasing it back into the room."
For more information, see our Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling (HVAC) Research Center.