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Conventional air conditioners have traditionally been deemed adequate for controlling space humidity levels in residential applications. However, as homes in humid climates have become more energy efficient, there is evidence that relative humidity levels in homes have been increasing (Rudd and Henderson 2007). This implies that sensible heat gains to the building have been reduced more than moisture loads, leaving a mix of latent and sensible loads that is poorly matched to the sensible heat ratio of conventional air conditioning systems. Furthermore, providing mechanical ventilation per ASHRAE Standard 62.2 affects space humidity levels in a typical home.

Some builders of high efficiency homes have installed supplemental dehumidification systems to explicitly provide dehumidification (Rudd et al. 2003; Rudd et al. 2005) and provide more precise humidity control. Equipment manufacturers have developed a range of dehumidifiers, enhanced air conditioners, and innovative control approaches to address latent loads and reduce the prevalence of high space humidity levels.