Air coolers remove humidity from the air by collecting the condensation on the
cooling pipes. Most portable dehumidifiers on the market today are simply air
coolers that heat the outgoing air back to room temperature. Doesn't this
mean, though, that if you can disable the air heating mechanism in the
dehumidifier, you have yourself a portable air conditioner? If this is
possible, consumers can save a pretty penny. I bought my Kenmore dehumidifier
for $170. A portable air conditioner, on the other hand, on the market starts
around $500. Why the price difference? Has anyone "hacked" a dehumidifier to
convert it into an air conditioner before? Thanks.
There is no air heating mechanism. The refrigeration cycle has a hot
side and a cold side - on an air conditioner you pump the heat to the
outside, on a dehumidifier it is returned to the room.
A dehumidifier will work as an air conditioner, but at less than 1000
BTU so you would need at least 5 to equal a (small) 5000 BTU air
Air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers all work by "pumping"
heat out from one place and dumping it somewhere else.
A dehumidifier pumps heat out to cool and remove humidity, and dumps
the heat into the outgoing air.
> If this is possible, consumers
> can save a pretty penny. I bought my Kenmore dehumidifier
> for $170. A portable air conditioner, on the other hand,
> on the market starts around $500.
> Why the price difference?
Most likely, capacity. A dehumidifier can use a small heat pump and
low air flow to do it's job. An air conditioner unit must handle more
heat and more airflow.
Best bet is to go with a high efficiency window mount unit. Window
units tend to be less expensive and more efficient than portable units
> Has anyone "hacked" a dehumidifier to
> convert it into an air conditioner before? Thanks.
It might be possible, it would require rerouting the airflow inside.
However, you would violate the warranty, and you'd risk serious damage
to the refrigerant system and a refrigerant leak, leading to an
expensive repair. There is also likely to be a large capacitor in
there that could give you a nasty shock, even with the power
disconnected. It's not worth the risk.
Jed Lau wrote:
I build large ducted dehumidifiers for installation in homes. Basically you have
an air conditioning unit that uses the heat normally rejected outside to reheat
the dried air. One could move this condenser coil(the hot side) and blow air
through it to outside and have an air conditioner. The down side and the reason
they are $170.00 is that even the large ones are only about 3000 BTUs. I have
dismantled some that are in the 1300-1500 BTU range. Not much cooling potential