Does Your Heat Pump Work as a Dehumidifier? – Read on to Know
For those seeking to buy a heat pump or those who already own one but want to know more about its usage, knowing how they work and what they do is invaluable. Don’t sit and sweat in unbearable humidity, be comfortable at home and at work! This is a brief guide to the question: do heat pumps dehumidify? (and more!)
How Humidity Affects Room Temperature
The amount of moisture in the air, humidity changes with atmospheric pressure and temperature: the higher the temperature, the more moisture the air can carry and vice versa.
Humidity is more crucial to an efficiently heated and cooled home than many might think. High humidity can create real problems in the cooling of a house and a low relative humidity can slash dollars from a heating bill by making it easier to cool the air. What is more, we perceive lower humidity as lower temperature, making it more comfortable at higher relative temperatures and reducing the need for expensive (and environmentally damaging) cooling.
Us humans like a relative humidity of 30-40% and a heat pump will maintain this very efficiently, making us more comfortable but also maintaining our belongings. Wooden objects can dry out and warp if the air is too dry, not to mention the effect on our skin and eyes. Work and sleep, as well as being able to watch a movie at home without your eyes drying out, are all improved by the correct humidity.
But Do Heat Pumps Dehumidify?
But the question is, do heat pumps dehumidify? If you have a high humidity, it is more difficult to take the heat out of the air as some of it is contained in water vapor and needs to condense in order to get rid of its heat. This is the reason the larger condenser coils in a heat pump work much better at treating and dehumidifying air than regular air conditioners, there is more space to condense in a heat pump dehumidifier.
The condenser coil is where the gas in the pump is forced under pressure to become a liquid, getting rid of its heat as it does so. As it cools, the moisture in the air gives its heat to the coil and becomes liquid itself. This is dehumidification. So, do heat pumps dehumidify and provide the same benefits of a dehumidifier? Yes, yes they do!
Working Principle of a Heat Pump
By taking warmth from a cold area and pumping it to somewhere warm, or the other way round to cool, heat pumps work efficiently to heat or cool a space when there is a temperature gradient (difference). But the clever part is that they work against the natural movement of heat energy. Instead of moving towards an equilibrium (or balance) of heat, a heat pump forces the energy in the air to become concentrated, either outside of the house if it’s too hot inside, or inside if it’s too cold. It’s the same principle that lets your refrigerator stay cool. Your chilled beverage has this process to thank for its deliciousness.
How a Heat Pump Reduces the Humidity of Any Room
There are two main modes the heat pump dehumidifier works in:
The condenser coil in a heat pump is where the heat energy is taken from the air, and with its moisture, which collects on the coil like the beading on a can of soda taken from the fridge. This is the coil acting as a heat pump dehumidifier.
The pump alternates between heating and cooling, maintaining the desired humidity or reducing it as the moisture is taken from the air or returned to it by the heat/cool cycle, whilst keeping the temperature the same. Dehumidifier and heater, all in one!
Other Advantages of Using a Heat Pump
Lower Running Costs
Staying the correct humidity is only one advantage of a heat pump system, they also happen to be up to 4 times as efficient as other forms of home heating, and though they can be expensive to install, should be producing savings in as few as 5 years. That’s better than any savings account these days. While a substantial capital outlay is required, many governments subsidize heat pumps and cheap finance is available to offset the cost. It could be an excellent investment as the savings will continue for decades to come!
Heat pumps are very simple and therefore easy to maintain, reducing maintenance costs substantially unlike a dehumidifier.
The simplicity and ease of maintenance also mean they will last for a very long time. Some users have had heat pumps for decades with little or no input from the owner. They quietly and efficiently get on with their jobs.
Reduce Carbon Emissions
In the (changing) climate of environmental concerns, it is becoming more and more important to save energy and a heat pump system, combined with efficient insulation, is one of the most economically sensible ways to do it. A reduced electricity bill means a reduced carbon footprint, something we will all benefit from, not just your pocket. This is an all-round sensible investment.
There are some climates unsuited to heat pumps (e.g. the depths of Siberia), but huge swathes of the inhabited Earth can use heat pumps to great effect.
Heat pumps have made a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of millions of people and look to continue doing so well into the future. As the most efficient way of heating, cooling and dehumidifying a house or business, they are a technology we shall be seeing for a long time to come. As motors get more efficient, it is a technology that can only improve, and improve our prospects as it does so. Cooler, more comfortable, cheaper and more environmentally friendly, heat pumps are one of the most sensible investments available. Be cool. Be warm. Never be too humid.
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