In case you couldn’t tell that summer is here by all the heat, it probably hit you when you got your first utility bill of the season. As the sweltering heat drags on, we typically leave our air conditioners running longer, and all that energy used to cool your home doesn’t come without a cost.
But there is an interesting little feature on many air conditioners that can help cool your house without breaking your bank.
Have you ever noticed the water drop icon found on many air conditioner remote controls, window units and central AC units? It’s often next to a snowflake icon. The two icons indicate different modes the air conditioner can be set to. The snowflake represents “Cool mode,” while the water drop icon denotes “Dry mode.”
A/C units are typically set to Cool mode, because that’s what we want our air conditioners to do, right? But Dry mode offers similar cooling effects, with a host of other benefits.
Dry mode reduces humidity in a room, which can drop temperatures. If relative humidity is low, the air around us—and, consequently, our bodies—feels much less hot because our sweat has no trouble evaporating. For instance, according to www.howstuffworks.com, if the air temperature is 75 degrees F and the relative humidity is zero percent, the air temperature feels like it is 69 degrees F. If the air temperature is 75 degrees F and the relative humidity is 100 percent, the air temperature feels like it’s 80 degrees F.
So less humidity in a room can make the air feel significantly cooler, and best of all, the humidity-reducing Dry mode uses less energy and is typically less noisy than Cool mode.
So how does it work? When set to Dry mode, the air conditioning unit sucks air in and removes the moisture from it before expelling it back into the room. When the humidity reaches a lower percentage, the unit turns off. Humidity starts building again, and after humidity has increased enough to change the temperature in the room or home, the unit kicks on again and saps moisture from the air until the temperature goes down again.
If you’re tired of ridiculously high utility bills accompanied by these ridiculously high (and humid) temperatures, check to see if your AC unit has a Dry mode, and give it a try!