Will an AC Enhancer Benefit My Home?

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated January 25, 2022
Hand adjusting air conditioner
Photo: Grace Cary / Getty Images

Highlights

  • AC enhancers tell your AC to cool its coils before pushing out air.

  • Current efficiency ratings don’t take into account a single run cycle.

  • AC enhancers improve your HVAC system’s energy efficiency.

  • Compared to whole-system dehumidifiers, AC enhancers are more affordable.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Clammy skin and foggy windows got you feeling stuffy in your home? If so, then you may have a humidity problem. But here’s the good news: solving this problem doesn't necessarily require the purchase of a high-efficiency air conditioner or a whole-house dehumidifier. An AC enhancer works with an existing system to control humidity and make your house more comfortable.

What Is an AC Enhancer?

An AC enhancer is a small, rectangular-shaped enhancement that’s installed between the condenser and evaporator. This enhancement gives the coil the ability to dehumidify upon startup. It sends a message to the condenser to start the coil-cooling process early on—before the blower or fan cycles on. Since the coil is cooled in advance, it prevents moisture that has accumulated on the coil from blowing off into the air.

How an AC Enhancer Works

An air conditioner with an added enhancer effectively combats the inefficient start and stop portions of the run cycle. In order to understand how an AC enhancer works, let’s look at how an air conditioner unit works:

The Rundown on AC Units

Manufacturers go to great lengths to create an efficient air conditioner, but the current Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating only evaluates an AC unit’s performance based on efficiency over a continuous cycle. It doesn’t consider the efficiency at the beginning and end of a single run cycle. 

When a standard AC unit runs, here's what happens:

  • For the first 10 minutes or so after startup, the AC capacitor kicks in and works the system up to its optimal efficiency as the unit waits for the coils to become cold and dehumidify.

  • When the AC reaches the end of the operating cycle, the coil is full of moisture, some of which drains out of the system; however, much of the moisture removed from the home stays inside the AC unit, resting on the coil. In some cases, several gallons of water can remain on the coil.

  • Regardless of the amount of water built up, when the AC starts up again, the fan blows warm air over the coil, waiting for it to cool again. This air movement blows the moisture resting on the coil back into your home.

Long story short: If you live in a humid climate, your air conditioner is working against itself as it attempts to dehumidify and cool the home. This common AC problem can be solved with an AC enhancer, which signals to your HVAC system that it needs to cool the coil before blowing air through your home.

Benefits of an AC Enhancer

Outside house air conditioner unit
Photo: Carolyn Franks / Adobe Stock

AC enhancers offer a number of benefits for your home. A few of the advantages an AC enhancer delivers include:

  • Better control over home dehumidification in general

  • Improved efficiency, since the compressor doesn't have to manage a high amount of moisture every time it starts up

  • Increased HVAC system lifespan

  • Energy savings, as the AC unit achieves peak efficiency quicker

  • Inexpensive compared to dehumidifiers

  • Lowers risk of mold, mildew, and rot

  • More comfortable indoor temperatures

Whole-house Dehumidifier vs. AC Enhancer

You may be wondering whether a whole-house dehumidifier is also an effective choice for controlling humidity. While a dehumidifier removes moisture, it doesn't address the inefficiencies in the air conditioner run cycle. 

Not to mention, a dehumidifier is a costly system to purchase and run, as it uses electricity. Depending on the capacity, a professionally installed dehumidifier costs between $1,300 and $2,800 on average. 

Cost to Install an AC Enhancer

Opting for an AC enhancer eliminates the high purchase and operating costs of a dehumidifier. The AC enhancer itself ranges in price from $100 to $120, plus the cost for an HVAC company to install the device.

The type of climate you live in, the overall energy efficiency of your home, and your budget will dictate which humidity solution is best. Talk to your local HVAC contractor about the available options to improve dehumidification, cooling, and operating efficiencies in your home. 

You might also want to consider having your pro conduct an AC inspection to determine how you can improve the performance of your HVAC system.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.