How Can a Portable AC be Used as a Dehumidifier – 3 Best Steps

We all know living in a hot and humid environment is enough to drive us crazy. Luckily, there are a few surefire ways to cool off, like portable air conditioners and dehumidifiers. What if you only have one or the other, and how can a portable AC be sued as a dehumidifier?

Some portable air conditioners have a dry or dehumidifier mode built into them. Look for either of these modes on your portable AC to use as a dehumidifier. Both methods simultaneously cool your home and remove humidity. A dehumidifier cannot be used as an air conditioner.

Keep reading to learn more about how to use your portable AC as a dehumidifier and how to remove more humidity from your home.

Can a portable AC be used as a dehumidifier?

Portable ACs are great for keeping a room cool, but can a portable AC be used as a dehumidifier?

You can use a portable air conditioner as a dehumidifier. A portable AC will remove moisture while it’s blowing out cold air. They are not as effective as a dehumidifier, but they will reduce humidity.

An air conditioner’s primary function is to reduce your home’s temperature, not to extract moisture from the air. Some modern portable AC models are designed to help dehumidify your room.

Many portable air conditioners also function as a dehumidifier with alternate ‘dry’ or ‘dehumidify’ modes.

Finding a portable AC with either of these modes could be your all-in-one fix for a hot and muggy room.

Can a portable ac be used as a dehumidifier?

What type of portable AC can dehumidify your home?

Your portable air conditioner’s main purpose is to keep you cool during intense heat. Some portable ACs take things a step further and can also dehumidify your home.

A portable AC with ‘dry mode’ or ‘dehumidifying mode’ works best as a dehumidifier. A machine with either of these modes doubles as an air conditioner and a dehumidifier.

Check your portable AC for this additional feature before you go out and buy a dehumidifier — you just might save yourself some money.  

How do dry mode humidifiers operate?

Even though some portable ACs have a ‘cool mode,’ you should try to find one with a ‘dry mode.’

Portable air conditioners with a ‘dry’ mode are more efficient than ones with a ‘cool mode.’ This is because its fan operates at a lower speed while its compressor adjusts depending on the sensor’s humidity level. When the fan runs slower, it keeps the coils cold over a long time, helping them humidify the room.

Having your AC coil at a higher temperature than the recommended limit makes it ineffective, as it will not allow the air to saturate. 

Note that your portable AC can dehumidify the room depending on the temperature below the dew point. For this reason, you should buy a portable AC after considering the size of your room.

Can a portable AC without dry mode work?

You might wonder what to do if you have a portable AC without a dry mode. But don’t worry since these devices can naturally dehumidify the room.

This is because they have a vapor compression cycle that helps dehumidify. During this process, your portable AC also regulates the temperature in the house. This built-in mechanic dehumidifies your home without a dry mode.

Check for other options if your portable AC does not have a dry mode. Air conditioner dehumidifier modes are standard in portable ACs and remove moisture effectively.

Do portable air conditioners work with dehumidifiers?

Portable air conditioners and dehumidifiers can work together, but you might only need one, depending on your use.

Portable air conditioners work with or alongside dehumidifiers, but a portable AC can cool a room and dehumidify it with a ‘dry’ or ‘dehumidifying’ mode. You can use a portable AC for both reasons, but a dehumidifier will only remove moisture without cooling the room.

A dehumidifier will cool a room off a little bit by removing heat trapped inside moisture in the air, but it won’t work nearly as well at cooling a room off as a portable AC.

Additionally, using both machines at once is not energy efficient. Use both if necessary, but know that a portable AC can also function as a dehumidifier.

Does a dehumidifier work as an air conditioner?

Your dehumidifier removes moisture from the air. This process does not emit cool air into the room but can lower the temperature’s real feel.

A dehumidifier does not work as an air conditioner. Overall, the dehumidifier removes moisture in the air but does not blow out cold air. It does make the room feel cooler after it draws moisture from the air.

Heat trapped inside the moisture is also removed through the dehumidifier, making the room colder.

It’s safe to use your dehumidifier for up to 10-12 hours at a time, but it’s unlikely you’ll need it for that long.

How does a portable AC dehumidify the air?

How exactly does a portable AC remove moisture from the air?

Your portable AC sucks in room-temperature air and passes it through evaporator coils inside the machine. Refrigerant circulates in the pipes and helps cool the air. The compressor then pushes hot air through the back of the AC, and excess moisture runs into the reservoir.

This process is less efficient than using an actual dehumidifier, but it gets the job done without using a whole different machine.

3 steps to make your portable AC remove more humidity

Here are three simple and easy steps you can take to make your portable AC work efficiently and remove more humidity.

  1. Ensure your AC coil is clean
  2. Set your fan to an optimal speed
  3. Regularly monitor the refrigerant charge

Ensure your AC coil is clean

To maximize the performance of your portable AC, ensure it stays clean. Dirt and dust reduce their efficiency, preventing them from getting rid of the humidity and heat indoors.

Your portable AC may be clean enough to cool your room but too dirty to remove moisture effectively. So be careful to avoid inconveniences, especially if you don’t have a humidifier. 

Clean your AC’s air filter to keep it running properly. Having a good filter ensures your coils remain clean. When the filter is dirty, the blower fan attracts dirt to the filter and then to your portable AC. When this goes on for a long time, your coil will have more dirt, requiring you to spend some cash cleaning it.

Set your fan to an optimal speed

Don’t set the fan faster if you want to use your portable AC to humidify the air. Set the fan on a lower CFM per ton, enabling it to remove heat from your room while maintaining the right thermostat settings. A lower CFM range allows the coil to get colder, which allows the AC to remove more moisture.

Regularly monitor the refrigerant charge

If your portable AC has a low refrigerant charge, it will have problems removing humidity in the house. When you don’t solve the problem on time, the coil will freeze or cause issues on the compressor, which can be expensive to repair. Monitoring the refrigerant charge regularly will help solve the problem before it results in bigger, more costly complications.

Which works better, a portable AC or a humidifier?

These machines are different, and each is better at their respective primary functions.

If you want to keep yourself cool, use a portable air conditioner. If you want to remove moisture from the air, use a dehumidifier or a portable AC dry or dehumidifier setting. Unlike the portable AC, a humidifier does not circulate cool air.

Dehumidifiers won’t drastically change a room’s temperature. You can use a dehumidifier without worrying about your thermostat and if you’ll kick the breaker on your HVAC system.

Dehumidifiers are better at removing moisture from the air, especially in critical situations like during a flood. Portable ACs, however, are better at keeping a room cold.

Dehumidifiers vs. portable air conditioners pros and cons

Both machines serve similar purposes, and you can get away with only using a dehumidifier. With that being said, consider the power consumption, cost, or effectiveness of the two.

Humidifiers are less expensive and use less energy than portable air conditioners. Portable ACs are better at cooling a room off, and a dehumidifier is better at removing moisture from the air. They’re both small enough to fit in any room of the house.

Portable ACs cover more square feet and work efficiently in smaller rooms. The biggest con for using a portable AC as a dehumidifier is that it’s constantly blowing cold air. However, the biggest pro is that it can function as a two-in-one solution for hot and humid rooms.

Although a dehumidifier is better at removing moisture, it can’t significantly cool a room off like an AC can.

There are other creative and makeshift ways to cool your home, but these two options work exceptionally!

Summary of if a portable AC can be used as a dehumidifier

Even though humidifiers are the perfect choice for humidifying your room, portable ACs can be used as dehumidifiers. The portable AC will help you keep your house cool while also dehumidifying. This makes it the best choice for those in hot and humid areas.

Keep the coil clean and monitor the refrigerant charge. If you want a cost-effective machine that consumes less power for dehumidification, only buy a humidifier.

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