Removing Humidity with a Heat Pump
Heat pumps are a great option to both heat and cool your home, saving you money on energy costs. They work especially well in areas with mild winters like the triangle. Heat pumps function differently than furnaces or air conditioners, so understanding how this could impact your comfort and indoor air quality is key to making a good decision. At Air Experts, we get a lot of questions from homeowners who are curious about making the switch to this highly efficient heating and cooling method. We recently received this question about heat pumps from a couple in Wake Forest:
Dear Air Experts,
Unfortunately, it’s time to replace both our furnace and our air conditioner. We’re considering switching to a heat pump to save money on heating and cooling. However, we read that heat pumps don’t work the same way as furnaces and air conditioners do. I know that both of these systems remove humidity from the air. It’s pretty humid in North Carolina. Will a heat pump be able to do this?
– Ben & Jill, Wake Forest
Great question! Your HVAC system is essential to maintaining high indoor air quality and controlling humidity in your home. When choosing a new unit or switching to a new type of system entirely, it’s important to research how it will help make your air more breathable and your home more comfortable. Let’s look into how heat pumps affect the humidity of your home:
Does a Heat Pump Remove Humidity?
You may be surprised to learn that a heat pump acts as a dehumidifier for your home. In warm weather, it functions much like an air conditioner, removing moisture from the air via condensation and sending the resulting water down a drain. Heat pumps are actually more efficient than air conditioners at dehumidifying your home’s air! In the winter, it does not need to dehumidify your home. This is because, like a furnace, the warm air that it circulates naturally dries out the air indoors.
How Does a Heat Pump Control the Humidity in Your Home?
All heat pumps control humidity as a natural effect of the heating and cooling process. Most new heat pumps have the added benefit of coming with a “dry mode.” Once your home reaches a comfortable temperature, you can switch your heat pump into dry mode to maintain that temperature while actively removing humidity from your air. It does this by alternating constantly between heating and cooling modes, allowing it to draw moisture out of the air without compromising on temperature. In the summer, the lower humidity levels will allow you to feel cooler at a higher temperature, meaning you can set your thermostat higher and save money on energy.
Why Isn’t My Heat Pump Removing Humidity?
If your heat pump seems to be running fine but your home feels humid, it’s time to do some digging. A few possible problems are:
- Dirty evaporator coil – If your heat pump’s evaporator coil is corroded or dirty, it won’t be able to do a good job of collecting water from the air.
- Improperly sized heat pump – Proper sizing of your heat pump is essential for it to perform all desired functions. If your indoor coil is too large, it won’t be able to remove humidity well when cooling your home.
- Air infiltration – If your home suffers from leaks or drafts, your heat pump will be fighting an uphill battle to keep the air dry in sweltering NC summers. Check for drafts around your doors and windows to make sure that humid air isn’t infiltrating your home.
Your heat pump should be removing a reasonable amount of humidity from your home. If you’re uncomfortable, call a trusted HVAC company to investigate why it’s not removing humidity from your home’s air.
Heat Pumps: An All-in-One Option for Heating, Cooling & Humidity Control
Heat pumps are an amazingly versatile HVAC solution for your Raleigh or Durham area home. Not only do they heat and cool, they also remove humidity from the air for lower humidity levels, more efficient cooling, and higher indoor air quality. It makes sense that more and more homeowners in the Triangle area are switching to heat pumps to save money on energy and achieve higher levels of comfort. With a heat pump, your indoor air humidity will remain at comfortable levels, no matter the conditions outside.