What to Look For
In humid climates, air conditioners work better than dehumidifiers for one main reason, how they treat the air in the room. Both devices work by passing the air over cooling coils, which should cool down the temperature in the room. But with the dehumidifier, the cooled air passes over a second set of coils--heating coils--which then heat up the air. So, while the dehumidifier works to dehumidify the room, it does not work to cool it. In fact, it heats the room.The good news is that many air conditioners have a dehumidifying component. If you live in a humid climate, it is important to look for units that come with this feature.
To avoid common pitfalls when shopping for a dehumidifying air conditioner, it is essential to take into account how exactly you want your unit to work. Reverse-cycle air conditioners work by taking heat from the air outside, passing it over cooling coils, then pumping it into the room. This kind of system is energy-efficient and inexpensive. You have the option of buying a portable unit, a unit for the window, or a split system where the unit's components are located in separate areas.
Ducted systems differ from reverse air units in many ways. They are designed to cool entire homes as opposed to entire rooms. They require the installation of ducts and the attachment of vents. They are more expensive to own and operate than other air conditioning units, but they work best for large homes, especially those with open floor plans.
Where to Buy
The best place to shop for dehumidifying air conditioners is online. Buy.com not only has excellent prices but great customer service and timely shipping. Comparable companies include Tigerdirect.com and Breathepureair.com. Each has a seamless ordering process, secure packaging, and wide selection.
Buy.com has an excellent small, portable SF-610 dehumidifying air conditioner. Shipping and handling included, it retails for about $130. For a whole-house unit, consider the Oscar Air DB 105 Dehumidifier from Breathepureair.com; it is the quitest in its class and sells for about $1,200.
Don't forget to consider the environment when shopping for a dehumidifying air conditioner. Choose only those with satisfactory energy-usage ratings. Also, to conserve energy, look for units that have programmable thermostats, so the air isn't on when no one is home.