Do heat pumps dehumidify? Yes! Here’s how and why

Get answers to the most common questions about the heat pump dehumidifying process. (Spoiler: Heat pumps make your home feel great year round.)

Get answers to the most common questions about the heat pump dehumidifying process. (Spoiler: Heat pumps make your home feel great year round.)

Heat pumps are the hottest HVAC system on the market right now—and for good reason: They’re the most energy-efficient way to heat your home in winter and keep your indoor air feeling cool in the summer.

But did you know that heat pumps are also experts at dehumidifying your home? It’s true! 

Some heat pump models come with the benefit of a “dry mode” that keeps your house feeling fresh on those sticky, humid days. And depending on where you live, you could get a heat pump upgrade with a performance-backed guarantee. Tap here to see if your house qualifies.

In this guide, Mike Torres—one of Sealed’s top heat pump experts—will tackle the most common questions homeowners have about the heat pump dehumidifying process. 

Mike is an experienced HVAC and home performance pro, so if you came here to learn the ins and outs, you’re in the right place. (Lucky you!) 

Table of contents:

Do heat pumps dehumidify?

You bet! Heat pumps and traditional central air conditioning systems dehumidify in pretty similar ways. But heat pumps are far superior. 

The big difference between traditional AC and a heat pump is that heat pumps have the added benefit of being able to reverse the process in winter via a reversing valve—so they can heat your home, too. 

But wait, there’s more! 

Heat pumps have a unique advantage over traditional air conditioners when it comes to dehumidification. They can adjust their speed and runtime based on your home’s needs, which means they can maintain a consistent and optimal humidity level more efficiently. 

This feature not only keeps you feeling cool, but it also helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew, improving your indoor air quality.

Plus, some heat pump models have what’s called a dry mode, which provides added dehumidification benefits. (We’ll talk about that later.)

So when you choose a heat pump for your home, you’re not just getting reliable cooling and heating. You’re also investing in a powerful dehumidification solution that works tirelessly behind the scenes to create a comfortable, healthy, and enjoyable living space. 

Trust us, your home will thank you if you switch to a heat pump, and you’ll be able to breathe easier all year round.

Heat pumps work like air conditioners, but it’s as if they went to graduate school for advanced degrees—because they can heat your home too.

professional installs indoor mini split AC unit in older home

Do mini splits dehumidify?

Absolutely! Mini splits are not only efficient cooling and heating systems, but they also work wonders when it comes to dehumidification. 

(New to mini splits and curious about what they are? Check out How do mini splits work? to learn more.) 

Mini split heat pumps, also called ductless heat pumps, are innovative systems equipped with a built-in dehumidification feature—usually called dry mode—that helps create a more comfortable indoor environment. 

As the mini split produces that cool-air feeling, it simultaneously removes excess moisture, reducing humidity levels and preventing sticky, stuffy air. (Hooray!)

What if you’re not into mini splits and you’d rather go with a centrally-ducted heat pump system instead?

Well, we’re glad you asked.

Today’s heat pumps can reduce up to 50% of your heat-based energy use.

Do ducted heat pumps dehumidify?

Like mini splits, ducted heat pumps have the ability to dehumidify. But mini split ductless systems are the real stars because they channel the extra moisture directly out of your house, instead of through a clunky maze of old, leaky ductwork. 

However, it’s always good to talk to an HVAC pro. According to Mike Torres, a solution engineer and HVAC expert on the Sealed team, some models of ducted heat pumps may have a dehumidify mode (or dry mode) similar to ductless systems. 

How does a heat pump remove indoor humidity?

Here’s how heat pump dehumidification works:

  • When your heat pump operates in cooling mode, it draws warm air from inside your home and passes it over a cold coil. 
  • As the air cools, moisture—in the form of humidity—condenses on the coil. 
  • This condensation drips into a collection pan or drain, effectively removing excess moisture from the air and helping create a more comfortable indoor environment.

Can a heat pump dehumidify in winter?

“Heat pumps don’t dehumidify in the winter,” explains Torres. Typically, most homeowners don’t want anything making the air any drier in the winter. 

“The ‘dry heat’ feeling that people usually associate with heating systems often comes from the fact that they have a leaky house,” says Torres. “If your house feels dry in the winter, it’s likely because dry winter air from outside is getting in.”

If you have a house that’s surrounded by air (and don’t we all), it’s likely that air leaks are present, which bring outside air into your house and make your heating and cooling systems less efficient. 

Professional air sealing (paired with insulation upgrades) is the right long-term solution for home air leaks. 

If your house feels dry in the winter, it’s likely because dry winter air from outside is getting in.

Mike Torres

Does a heat pump dry the air?

Nope! Heat pumps do not dry out your air. Instead, they maintain healthy, comfortable home humidity levels as they circulate fresh air throughout your house. 

Healthy, comfortable indoor air is the goal, after all, so even if you have moisture issues, you don’t really want to “dry out” the air—you just want to get the humidity levels under control. Read How to get rid of moisture in a house if high humidity is your concern.

What is heat pump dry mode? Can I use dry mode all day?

Heat pump dry mode is a specialized setting available on many heat pump systems that focuses on dehumidification. And yes, you can use it all day!

According to Torres, homeowners can use dry mode as a primary all-day setting during the times of year when they need a little humidity control but don’t necessarily need full-on heating or cooling. 

For example: If you enjoy keeping your AC off during cool spring weather, but you have a family of five—and that means five hot showers in a day—running your system on dry mode can help your house feel great and move out excess humidity. 

When dry mode is activated, your heat pump will primarily work to remove excess moisture from the air, rather than heat or cool your air to change the temperature. 

In this mode, with the simple push of a thermostat button, a heat pump changes its settings to lower the relative humidity levels by extracting moisture from the air, helping to create a more comfortable feel to the airflow in your house. 

Heat pump dry mode is a big benefit during seasons of high humidity: It allows you to enjoy a drier, more comfortable living space while minimizing your energy use and filtering allergens.

Animation of a remote controlling a mini split heat pump for zone-by-zone temperature and humidity control

Heat pumps have the potential to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by at least 500 million tons in 2030.

Source: International Energy Agency

A heat pump is just one piece of the puzzle

Here’s the thing: Heat pumps are amazing (and that’s why they’re the only HVAC system we install). 

But if your house is under-insulated (and 90% of homes are) and you haven’t had your home professionally air sealed, your house is taking in outside temperatures and moisture (1).

Basically, it’s pretty much like you’re paying to heat and cool the outdoors.

And that means your HVAC system is being overworked, isn’t working efficiently, and will have a shorter lifespan—no matter what type of system you have. 

But Sealed can fix that for good. 

90% of US homes are underinsulated.

Get comfort upgrades for your house—with flexible payment options and a performance-backed guarantee

At Sealed, we believe in demystifying the magic behind heat pumps and their remarkable ability to dehumidify your home. 

Picture this: 

As summer temperatures soar and humidity levels rise, your heat pump steps up to the plate, ready to tackle both cooling and dehumidification like a superhero with a dual mission.

And with insulation and air sealing upgrades, your heat pump is supported exactly how it needs to be… and will have a long, efficient life ahead. 

If you work with Sealed, you can get these powerful home upgrades with flexible payment options and a performance-backed guarantee.


You could cut up to 50% of your energy use when getting high-performance insulation, professional air sealing, and heat pump HVAC upgrades with Sealed. Learn how.

June 23, 2023