Dehumidifier Or Central AC: Which Is Best For Sticky Floors In Summer?

Many homeowners opt for wood or ceramic floors over carpeting, but hard flooring can become inconvenient if there's too much humidity in your home. Extra moisture in the air can cause your floors to "sweat," leaving them feeling damp and sticky. This problem can be easily solved by running your central air conditioner, a dehumidifier, or both. These two appliances are highly effective in removing humidity from the air. If you have both, deciding which to use for your home depends on the summer climate where you live and your temperature preferences. There are also circumstances where it's better to use one over the other.

Different factors can cause humidity in your home, but the most common is condensation caused by warm air coming in contact with your cold floors. This can leave your floors looking like you recently mopped, so if you're walking around barefoot or in shoes, expect to leave some footprints. What's worse is that excessive humidity in a home can damage your floors or lead to mold growth (or both). A central AC system and dehumidifier, used individually or together, can address this problem, but which is better?

Central AC systems do it all

Those who live in an area with high heat indices in the summer often run their AC as early as mid-spring, with temps climbing into the 80s and 90s. As a rule of thumb, if your floors are damp and the air temp is uncomfortably high, this is an ideal time to run your AC instead of a dehumidifier. AC systems not only cool the air but also dehumidify it. They absorb warm air and humidity, using a refrigerant to cool the air before releasing it back into your home. The end result? Cool, dry air circulating throughout your home, and no more sweating floors to worry about.

One thing to keep in mind when running your AC is to keep it set to "Auto." This will ensure that the air temperature in your home never exceeds the summer thermostat temperature you set. Maintaining a certain cool temperature range in your home can prevent your floors from getting damp and sticky. It's best to take this proactive approach, preventing the floors from sweating, instead of turning the AC on only after the sweating has begun.

Dehumidifiers can be used year-round

When adressing sweating floors, a dehumidifier can be an efficient solution. Like a central AC system, it removes air moisture, but it doesn't absorb heat. Its primary purpose is to eliminate humidity. After extracting moisture from the air, it sends dry air back into the room, albeit somewhat warm, not cool. So, when should you use a dehumidifier over a central AC system to address the issue of sweating floors? If your primary goal is to dehumidify, and the air temperature isn't too warm, use a dehumidifier. Even if you're already running the AC but humidity levels are still high, you can use a dehumidifier in tandem with your AC to ensure consistent moisture control in your home.

What's nice about these appliances is that they can be used year-round. Use it in the warm months to remove moisture from floors and in the cold months to remove condensation from windows. This isn't the case with central AC, though. Central air conditioning systems are intended for use only when the outside temperature reaches at least 60 degrees. Running your AC when it's below 60 could damage the unit, so if it's below 60 outdoors and you want to dehumidify indoors, use a dehumidifier.