Do Heat Pumps Dehumidify? 9 Important Facts You Should Know!

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By Debarghya Roy

Heat pumps can be your best friend when it comes to reducing indoor humidity. They are efficient options, like ductless and wall-mounted heat pumps, that help maintain pleasant temperatures in both warm and cold weather.

High humidity is a common issue during summer months. Installing air-source or geothermal heat pumps is a great solution for dehumidifying and saving energy. In this blog, we will look into the dehumidifying nature of heat pumps in detail.

Definition Of Heat Pump

A heat pump utilizes technology similar to a refrigerator and extracts heat from surrounding sources and transfers it to indoor units to produce heat energy.

Components of a Heat Pump

Heat Pumps use several components that work together as one system to grab heat from the air or ground. 

The parts can differ in size, design and effectiveness, depending on the type of Heat Pump. Check out this table to see the parts of a Heat Pump:

EvaporatorAbsorbs heat from the source (air or ground) and sends it to the refrigerant.
CompressorBoosts the pressure of the refrigerant vapor to increase energy output.
CondenserReleases the heat absorbed by refrigerant to either water or air from another source.
Expansion ValveReleases the heat absorbed by the refrigerant to either water or air from another source.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

Heat pumps absorb heat energy from the environment and transfer it to another spot. 

This works by using a refrigerant that switches between two coils in a closed circuit. As it shifts, the refrigerant changes state from liquid to gas and back, absorbing and releasing heat each time.

These heat pumps have a special ability they can reverse and cool as well as heat. The direction of refrigerant flow is reversed so it absorbs heat from the inside and releases it outside.

Different heat pumps are designed with different factors in mind: climate, space and functionality. Some come with backup heating for colder climates while others focus on cooling.

Dehumidifying with a Heat Pump

To effectively dehumidify your indoor environment with a heat pump in humid weather, you can rely on dry mode or cooling mode. 

Dry mode operates with no cooling and is designed to remove excess moisture from the air. Heat pumps provide low fan speed and high moisture removal, which helps dehumidify without lowering temperature much.

Cooling mode, on the other hand, works like an air conditioner. It runs at its full capacity, providing maximum cooling and some dehumidification.

It’s important to remember that too much humidity can lead to mold, water damage, and more severe asthma symptoms. So, it’s best to go for dehumidification first.

Heat Pump: Dry Mode vs. Cooling Mode

When it comes to humidity management in your living space, two modes are available: dry mode and cooling mode. Let’s take a look at what sets them apart.

Here’s a comparison of the features of Dry Mode versus Cooling Mode:

FeaturesDry ModeCooling Mode
PurposeDehumidifyingCooling and Dehumidifying
Temperature changeLittle or no dropSignificant Drop
Fan SpeedLowHighest Possible
Energy consumptionLess than CoolingMore compared to Dry Mode

How does Relative Humidity Affect Indoor Air Quality?

Gaining a comfy indoor ambiance requires understanding how relative humidity affects the air quality inside your house or office. 

In the following list, we will know how heat pump affects air quality,

  • If the indoor relative humidity is above 60%, it encourages mold growth and increases the spread of dust mites and other bugs. 
  • Moreover, high moisture levels in the air make breathing hard and can set off allergies.
  • Controlling relative humidity helps improve indoor air quality. One method is through dehumidification using a heat pump. 
  • This system works by cooling the air to take out moisture, reheating it, and circulating it back to your space. 
  • The outcome is lower humidity levels that create an unwelcoming atmosphere for mold growth and soothe respiratory complaints.
  • The selection of a dehumidifying technique depends on things such as available space, budget, and operational capacity. 
  • A heat pump with built-in dehumidification technology is a wise option as they are energy-efficient and eco-friendly compared to other options like portable dehumidifiers.
  • Mechanical refrigeration systems were utilized for dehumidification tasks in commercial applications due to their efficiency in swiftly reducing moisture levels while maintaining room temperatures stable. 

Types of Heat Pumps that Dehumidify

To solve the problem of excess moisture and high humidity levels in your indoor environment, you might wonder if heat pumps can dehumidify. 

In this section on types of heat pumps that dehumidify, we’ll discuss the benefits of using a ductless heat pump, air-source heat pump, or geothermal heat pump for dehumidification.

Do heat pumps dehumidify

Ductless Heat Pumps

  • Ductless Split Heat Pumps provide climate control with no need for ducts. 
  • They save energy and space, and their quiet operation makes them suitable for many locations. 
  • If you’re looking for a compact, low-maintenance solution, ductless Split Heat Pumps are the way to go.
  • Check your manufacturer’s warranties and guarantees for increased efficiency. 
  • Air-source heat pumps are ideal for dehumidifying and creating a sauna experience year-round.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

Air-source heat pumps are a great way to dehumidify a building. They extract hot or cold air from the atmosphere to regulate the temperature.

Two types of air-source heat pumps are split systems and packaged systems

Split systems have an outdoor and indoor unit. Packaged systems have both components in one cabinet.

Split systems require more installation work, while packaged units are simpler due to their compact size.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal Heat Pumps provide a great way to keep your home or building temperature and humidity at just the right level. Plus, they require much less maintenance than other types; and have a great lifespan of up to 25 years.

Geothermal Heat Pumps can lower your utility bills up to 70% compared to traditional HVAC systems. 

They are one of the most eco-friendly ways for regulating indoor temperature and humidity – according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Check out the different kinds of Heat Pumps in the table below:

Vertical Loop SystemDeep vertical boreholes, with pipes for heat transfer.
Horizontal Loop SystemHorizontal piping tunnels, dug into the ground.
Pond/Lake Loop SystemWater from a nearby pond or lake.
Open-Loop SystemGroundwater for heating and cooling.

Common Problems and Solutions Of Heat Pumps that Dehumidify

In this part of the article, we will discuss these sub-sections as potential solutions for managing humidity levels in your home using a heat pump system.

Condenser Coil Freeze-ups

When your AC system’s coil freezes up, it restricts airflow. This makes your air conditioner work harder to cool rooms. 

  • Moisture and dirt buildup on fins and filters cause this issue. 
  • To fix it, turn off the AC and let the ice melt. 
  • Then, clean the filters and fins. 
  • Make sure drainage pipes are clear of any debris that could overflow.
  • Prevent this issue by getting regular maintenance checks on your AC system. 
  • Keep the area around the unit clean and make sure there’s good airflow coming through the unit. 
  • Minimize vegetation growth nearby.
  • Check the refrigerant levels in your AC unit. 
  • Too much or too little refrigerant can result in freeze-ups. For help, call an expert.

Moisture Build-up Inside the Home

Moisture buildup is common in homes due to activities like showering, boiling water or cooking. 

Excessive moisture in homes causes

  • This high humidity can lead to damage in walls, ceilings, floors and furniture.
  • Poor ventilation is the main reason for too much moisture. 
  • Inadequate heating or cooling systems, clogged air filters, and blocked ducts can stop airflow and leave moisture. Also, poor insulation can cause condensation.

Excessive moisture in homes solutions

  • To reduce this problem, homeowners should improve airflow. 
  • Add exhaust fans in bathrooms and use dehumidifiers in humid areas. 
  • Open windows to let fresh air in and stop mold growth.
  • A study in 2019 said over 50% of indoor pollutants are from moisture-related issues. Moisture creates places for bugs like termites that damage the wood.

It’s vital to keep your home ventilated to avoid too much moisture and protect your investment from severe damage. 

Get a dehumidifying heat pump to reduce dampness and make your home more comfortable.

Benefits of Dehumidifying with a Heat Pump

To achieve optimal indoor air quality, you need to dehumidify your home, especially in humid weather. 

A heat pump can help you to reduce the amount of moisture in the air and create a more comfortable temperature for your living environment. 

In this section, we will explore the benefits of dehumidifying with a heat pump. 

Dehumidifying using a heat pump boosts energy efficiency

Do heat pumps dehumidify

It works by taking moisture out of the air, creating cooler, drier air. This keeps the inside of the house at a constant temperature, reducing the need for cooling or heating. That means less electricity usage, lower bills, and a smaller carbon footprint.

Plus, heat pumps use less energy than conventional dehumidifiers. They don’t waste energy reheating dry air like other methods. They’re also quiet and have long lifespans.

Partial Heating solutions

Heat Pumps have evolved a lot since Wilhelm Siemen invented them in 1855. Initially, they used coal in vapor-compression refrigeration cycles. But in the 1940s-1960s, gas heaters replaced coal burners and electric heating became popular. 

So, Heat Pump tech changed, particularly with Thermal Strips and Partial Heating solutions. 

Improved Indoor Air Quality

A heat pump dehumidifier can boost indoor air quality. Here are three advantages:

Lower HumidityHeat pumps suck away moisture, lessening humidity and blocking the growth of mold and germs.
Purer AirBy eliminating extra moisture, heat pumps also get rid of airborne allergens, resulting in cleaner air.
Energy SavingHeat pumps can dehumidify efficiently, cutting down energy use and electricity expenses versus regular dehumidifiers.

Moreover, using a heat pump can help not only the air but also overall health, by reducing respiratory issues caused by bad air quality.

These tips will lead to enhanced indoor air quality with a heat pump dehumidifier.

  • Set the correct humidity level according to the season. Have 30-50% humidity in hot weather and up to 40-60% in cold months for optimum performance and comfort.
  • Clean or change air filters often to avoid further buildup of dirt that can hurt air quality.
  • Ensure your home is well insulated and ventilated to keep outside moisture out.

Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Heat Pump

To effectively maximize the performance of your heat pump system with proper sizing and installation, you need to understand the two subsections: ensuring proper sizing and installation, and maintaining your heat pump system. 

Let’s discuss both sub-sections in detail.

Ensuring Proper Sizing and Installation

The correct sizing and installation of a heat pump system is crucial for its effectiveness. Follow these six steps to make sure it’s done right:

  1. Do a heat loss/gain analysis to figure out the correct size for your home
  2. Choose a contractor with experience to install it
  3. Put the outdoor unit on level ground, away from obstacles
  4. Ensure the ductwork is the right size and has no leaks
  5. Install programmable thermostats to boost performance
  6. Clean and maintain the unit to keep it running well

For even better performance, make sure there’s enough air flow, change filters regularly, and seal doors and windows. When buying a heat pump, go for efficiency above cost.

Maintaining Your Heat Pump System

Ensure regular maintenance for your heat pump to optimize its performance. 

Check and clean filters, coils, and outdoor unit. This can reduce energy costs and keep the system efficient.

Inspect ductwork connected to heat pump. Blockages and leaks can affect performance. Yearly professional maintenance can prevent issues and extend the heat pump’s life.

Install a programmable thermostat to save on energy bills. Automatically adjust temperatures when away or asleep. With proper maintenance, the heat pump will stay efficient for longer.

How Does Dry Function Work on a Heat Pump?

Dry Function is a mode on heat pumps that sucks out extra moisture from a room without changing the temperature. 

It works by blowing warm air over the evaporator coil, which cools and condenses the moisture. 

The condensed water is removed via a drain pipe and dry air is put back in circulation.

Using Dry Function can be good, especially in humid weather or during the rainy season. 

Low humidity levels reduce mold and other health risks from the excess moisture. It also makes the air less sticky and stale.

Can Heat Pumps Work in Hot and Humid Summers?

Heat pumps are great for hot, humid summers. They extract heat from the air and maintain a comfortable temperature inside. 

But, their efficiency may drop during extreme weather. Supplemental cooling can help but it can increase energy consumption.

How Do You Test the Dehumidification Level of a Heat Pump?

To gauge the dehumidification of a heat pump, five steps can help:

  1. Run the heat pump in humid conditions.
  2. Take readings with a humidity meter in the room.
  3. Record readings, output temp and airflow rate.
  4. Compared to industry standards for optimal indoor humidity and ventilation.
  5. Adjust heat pump settings or add dehumidification equipment if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do heat pumps dehumidify?

Heat pumps can dehumidify the air. In fact, most heat pumps come with a “dry mode” or dehumidification function that is designed to reduce the humidity level in the room. 

This is done by removing the excess moisture from the air and releasing cool, dry air back into the room.

How does a heat pump dehumidify?

A heat pump dehumidifier by drawing in warm air from the room and passing it over the evaporator coil. 

  • The evaporator coil cools the air, which causes the water vapor in the air to condense into liquid form. 
  • The liquid water is collected in a drain pan and removed through a drain pipe. The cool, dry air is then released back into the room to reduce the humidity level.

Can a ductless heat pump dehumidify?

A ductless heat pump can dehumidify. In fact, many ductless mini-split heat pumps come with a dehumidification mode or dry function that is designed to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. 

What is the optimal humidity level for a comfortable temperature?

The optimal humidity level for a comfortable indoor environment is between 30-50% relative humidity. 

Higher humidity levels can make the air feel warmer and more oppressive, while lower humidity levels can cause dry skin, irritated eyes, and respiratory issues.

How can a heat pump improve indoor air quality?

A heat pump can improve indoor air quality by filtering the air as it circulates through the system. 

Many heat pumps come with filters that can capture dust, pollen, and other contaminants that can negatively impact air quality. 

Plus, the dry air that is released by the heat pump can help prevent mold and mildew growth, which can also contribute to poor air quality.

Are heat pumps an energy-efficient solution?

Heat pumps are an energy-efficient solution for heating and cooling homes and buildings. 

By transferring heat rather than generating it, heat pumps require less energy to operate than traditional HVAC systems. 

Plus, many heat pumps come with features like scroll compressors and excellent cooling performance that can help to further reduce energy costs and improve personal comfort.

Can heat pumps remove humidity?

Heat pumps are capable of removing humidity from indoor air. In fact, this is one of their main functions. 

When a heat pump is in cooling mode, it uses a refrigerant to transfer heat from inside your home to the outside. As the warm air is transferred outside, the heat pump also removes moisture from the indoor air via condensation.

Do heat pumps save money?

Heat pumps can save you money on your heating and cooling bills. While they may have a higher upfront cost than a traditional furnace, they are more efficient and can provide both heating and cooling without the need for separate systems. 

How do heat pumps function?

Heat pumps function much like an air conditioner in cooling mode. However, they can also provide heating by reversing the refrigerant flow. When in heating mode, the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air and transfers it inside your home.

What is the challenge in making the switch to a heat pump?

The main challenge in making the switch to a heat pump is the upfront cost. While they can save you money in the long run, the initial investment can be higher than that of a traditional furnace or air conditioning system. 

Is a new furnace necessary when switching to a heat pump?

It depends on your specific situation. While a new furnace may not be necessary, it can be beneficial to have a backup heating source in very cold weather. Talk to a professional HVAC technician to determine the best solution for your area and home.

Do heat pumps provide efficient cooling?

Heat pumps can provide efficient cooling. When in cooling mode, they operate much like an air conditioner and can provide effective temperature control for your home. 

Additionally, the ability to control humidity can help provide even more comfort during hot weather.

Can heat pumps save energy?

Heat pumps can save energy by providing both heating and cooling with one system. This can help reduce the overall energy consumption of your home and save you money on your utility bills. 


Heat pumps can dehumidify, but not all models have a dehumidification mode. Dry mode is a great option, but it needs to be set at the right temperature. Too low and it becomes uncomfortable; too high and it’s good for reducing moisture levels. It’s important to balance comfort with dehumidification when using a heat pump.

Heat Pump