Air conditioning systems dehumidify as well as cool the air. (the first air conditioner was installed in a printing shop to keep the paper dry so it didn’t have to close on humid summer days) They cool by reducing sensible heat (lowering temperature) and dehumidify by reducing s latent heat (removing humidity) from the air. When using your AC in Clearwater, the HVAC system’s coil temperature is always below the dew point of the air (the temperature at which water vapor will condense into liquid water), so the air conditioning system will remove moisture while lowering the air temperature. Together, sensible heat and latent heat constitute the cooling load on an HVAC system. Dehumidification success is maintaining under 60% under any condition. When humidity gets high, over half of your air conditionings energy will be spent on removing humidity instead of lowering temperature.
Slow Cooling and Over-Cooling
Maintained Air Conditioners generally do a great job with dehumidification during peak temperatures. In past years HVAC manufactures have added design hacks to increase dehumidification even in the off-peak months. These hacks would either decrease the blower speed during a timed portion of a cooling cycle to slow down cooling and leave more time for dehumidification, or induce the thermostat to cool below the the temp set on the thermostat. Both of these solutions are considered hacks because they use more energy than a system designed for that exact day of of the year would use. (and changing your air conditioning system every month is not a good solution!) A new solution for vacant/extended away homes is to run the A/C and large electric heaters at the same time to lower humidity while limiting the temperature drop. This is essentially a way to control on/off cycles by humidity while making sure the living space doesn’t get overly cold. (avoid dewpoint/duct sweating problems)
When a home has humidity issues due to it’s insulation, the building envelope, oversized A/C system, or another issue; installing a stand-alone supplemental dehumidifier can be the best solution to a high humidity issue. A dehumidifier offers lots of dehumidification while doing no cooling of the air. (removing only the latent heat). This takes some of workload off of the A/C system to help bring comfortable temperature and humidity levels with the two machine preforming their tasks. To understand the amount of energy needed for water to change state, consider a pot of water on a stove. When the water gets to 212° does the whole pot instantly turn to steam? NO! It takes a considerable amount of heat energy from the stove to slowly boil away the water. Changing boiling water to steam takes about 6 times as much energy as raising room temperature water to boiling.
High Efficiency HVAC Options
Staged Cooling is the solution to deal with the different levels of heat Clearwater feels in spring, summer, and autumn. One model design uses two stage equipment. The first stage runs at half capacity for the cooler days and on warmer days the first stage will lead or end a cycle to insure extra dehumidification. A more advanced design of air conditioners has the ability to control the exact capacity a home needs under any circumstance. With approximately 750 different speeds, these systems sync to a homes heat gain to keep running right at that edge so they can stay on for hours during the day. Staying on means dehumidification and these system are the best at it.