Let’s cut straight to the chase: yes, you can use these at the same time, but you don’t have to. As a matter of fact, your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier (in some capacity; we’ll explain).
So to answer your question of “can I use humidifier with an air conditioner?” it’s a big yes, but you shouldn’t.
Let’s talk about the role that humidity plays in your home comfort and safety, and why you might not want to run both of these at the same time.
Humidity Causes Mold and Mildew
There’s a measure of humidity in the air called RH, or relative humidity. Generally, around 60% RH is when you should worry about mold growth as a serious problem.
However, you can’t guarantee that every cubic foot of air space in your home is at an RH level of 60%, which is why a better target is 50%. That gives some room for error and helps balance out pockets of your home where airflow might not hit.
After an RH level of 70%, mold will definitely grow in the home. We know you want to use a humidifier, which is why we need to be explicitly clear about the dangers of overly humid areas in your home. Before you close out this article, let’s talk about the (limited) dehumidification function of your air conditioner.
Your AC Pulls Humidity From the Air
Your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier… sort of. It won’t do the job of a separate dehumidifier unit, but it does lower the RH level in your home as it runs.
In your AC, there are coils that are filled with refrigerant. They cool the air, which also separates moisture from it (think about condensation on the outside of a cold drink during a hot day).
So your AC is dehumidifying the air, but that’s not the original goal. It’s more like a byproduct. If you notice high RH levels in your home, whether you’re using a dehumidifier or not, just know that your AC isn’t doing the heavy lifting to lower that level.
Yes, You Can Run Both at Once
It’s absolutely possible to run both of these at once, but monitor what’s going on. Air conditioners can definitely make smaller homes and spaces feel dry and stuffy, so adding humidity to the air could be a major benefit for you.
Keep your eyes on the RH level and be conscious of how much humidity is in the air. Don’t leave your humidifier on 24/7, otherwise, your AC will be fighting it the entire time.
You’re in the Clear
While you don’t really need to run both at the same time, you absolutely can run a humidifier and air conditioner at the same time. The best way to make use of these machines is to use ductless mini splits for zone control.
You can control the humidity in one area as much as you’d like, and in the other, make a comfortable cool environment. Or you can run them simultaneously–it’s your call.
Contact Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. today to handle your air conditioner and humidifier installation all in one.