Here in Atlanta, Georgia the humidity often makes summer days uncomfortable. We have a one-story, 1,750 square foot house. If there's such a thing as a whole house system for dehumidifying, what does it cost to buy and use, and is it a better choice than air conditioning? Since it's not our peak hot season, you think it will cost less?
Javon K. ~ Atlanta, Georgia
Javon, an ideal situation for you might be to use a whole house dehumidifier in conjunction with a central air conditioning system. Although I'm sure that you would rather spend your money on just one of these systems instead of both, you would most likely get the best results if you had both a dehumidifier and a central air conditioning system. Although air conditioners do extract some moisture out of the air when they are operating, during very humid weather an air conditioner may not be able to keep your home at a comfortable humidity level. An independent dehumidifier can assist an air conditioner in drying out your house, plus it can be used to dehumidify your home's interior on the days of the year when you may not want to use your air conditioner. Likewise, if your home only had a dehumidifier, but no air conditioner, you would not be able to cool your home during the hot summer months in Atlanta.
Another advantage of having both a dehumidifier and an air conditioner is that your home can feel more comfortable at higher temperatures when the moisture level in your home is relatively low. This means that you can run your air conditioner less often and at higher settings, which can translate to less power consumption and possibly lower monthly electric bills. If your home does not already have a central air conditioning unit, then I recommend that you purchase a new energy efficient model. The US Department of Energy has some good information available about air conditioners, so you can read up on the recommended energy standards for new systems.
If you want an accurate price for a air conditioning system or a central dehumidifier for your home, then I would have an HVAC specialist who works in the Atlanta area inspect your house and prepare a cost estimate for the your specific project. Once the needed duct work is sized and the system designed, then you can price out different units that are correctly sized for your home. Good luck with your project!