Is The Air Too Wet, Too Dry, Or Just Right?

August 8, 2002
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If a building has too much humidity, not only will its occupants tend to be more uncomfortable, there’s also a higher risk of mold and fungi growth, resulting in poor indoor air quality (IAQ). And if humidity is too low, occupants can experience static shock, their sinuses may become too dry, and their wood furniture may split.

Now that the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has set aside funds to study the interaction of humidity control technologies with Standard 62 on ventilation (see sidebar below), The News decided this is a good time to look at some of the newer humidity control products hitting the market.

With good luck and careful planning, these products can help your customers feel just right.

DEHUMIDIFICATION

On the dehumidification side, Integrated Power Solutions (IPS, Kyle, TX) recently introduced a humidity control product line for the residential market. The IPS line is available with a desiccant wheel regenerated by either gas or electric heat.

The first two models are the IPS-250G (gas) and the IPS-150E (electric). The products have been ETL certified under UL and CSA standards.

The company says that IPS humidity control products “efficiently remove moisture in the air, thereby reducing the humidity levels within the home.” As a result, “Homeowners will be able to enjoy a more comfortable indoor environment because relative humidity levels with the IPS product line are maintained between 45% and 55%.”

The IPS product line allows homeowners to control humidity independently of the home’s HVAC system, the company says.

In addition, because the product line reduces moisture, “installation of the IPS product line will provide homeowners with a means to improve indoor air quality and significantly reduce potential financial loss associated with the spread of fungi, mold, and mildew.”

The line is suitable for new construction and existing homes, the company says. In existing homes, the company estimates that installation can be completed in as little as two hours.

For more information, contact the company at 1120 Goforth Rd., Kyle, TX 78640; 512-268-5422.

HUMIDIFICATION

On the humidification side, Lennox International (Dallas, TX) is offering a new line of Healthy Climate™ humidifiers — the WP2-18 power humidifiers and the WB2-17 and WB2-12 bypass humidifiers — to provide “an easy solution to dry air in the home, due to colder temperatures.”

The humidifiers are said to offer relief from many of the effects of dry, heating season air, such as “chapped skin, aggravated respiratory ailments, static shocks, dried-up houseplants, out-of-tune musical instruments, cracked and warped furniture, separations in wood floors, and gaps in moldings.”

The humidifiers are easy to install, the company says, “because a unique solenoid valve and the included duct mount adapter plate for the humidistat eliminate common installation problems.” The solenoid valve is mounted at the top of the unit, reducing the chance for leaks. One-step access to the evaporative media eliminates the need for screws, tubes, or clips for removal, the company says.

The Healthy Climate line includes air filters and electronic air cleaners, to sell individually or as a complete system with the humidifiers. The flow-through humidifiers come with a one-year limited warranty on components.

For more information, contact the company at 2100 Lake Park Blvd., Richardson, TX 75081; 972-497-5000; 972-497-7878 (fax); www.lennox.com (website).

GeneralAire (Novi, MI) is introducing its SL-16 Model 19.2-GPD humidifiers with “only six parts,” the company says. The model’s snap-action latch “requires no tools for service,” states the manufacturer.

The model may be installed on upflow, counterflow, or horizontal furnaces and air handlers. The 990-13 evaporator pad is designed for high-evaporation output. It is UL classified.

For more information, contact the company at 48300 Grand River Ave., Novi, MI 48376-8025; 248-476-5100; 248-349-2366 (fax); www.generalfilters.com (website).

And Aprilaire (Research Products Corp., Madison, WI) is still offering computer-equipped automatic humidifiers.

Its “advanced computer technology measures the outdoor temperature and indoor humidity over 86,000 times a day and continually adjusts your home’s indoor humidity to its optimum level,” the company says.

The company calls its Model 700 “the best choice for high evaporative capacity and perfect for larger homes.” Model 600 is intended for homes up to 4,000 square feet that only require a bypass humidifier.

For more information, contact the company at P.O. Box 1467, Madison, WI 53701; 608-257-8801; www.aprilaire.com (website).

Sidebar: Project To Study Humidity Control And Standard 62

HONOLULU, HI — How well can various HVAC technologies maintain proper space humidity while meeting the ventilation requirements of Standard 62? The topic has been approved for research by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The project was approved at ASHRAE’s 2002 Annual Meeting in Honolulu. The society approved five research projects totaling $651,156, in the areas of energy conservation, indoor air quality, comfort and health, and fire and safety.

The increased ventilation air requirements in ASHRAE Standard 62-1999, “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality,” significantly increase dehumidification loads in many commercial buildings, according to Technical Committee 7.6, Unitary Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps, which oversees the project.

“In some applications, conventional unitary systems are reportedly unable to adequately meet these moisture loads and maintain acceptable space humidity levels,” stated the society. “Various new technologies, systems, and approaches are being proposed or used to meet these increased loads.”

The project will compare humidity control options, as well as climate, application, and operating conditions where such options should be considered, in order to develop general humidity control guidelines.

The research project is 1254-TRP, “Evaluating the Ability of Unitary Equipment to Maintain Adequate Space Humidity Levels; Phase II: Simulations, Summary and Development of Guidelines.” The principal investigator is Michael Witte, Ph.D., with GARD Analytics in Park Ridge, IL. The project is expected to take 18 months to complete, at a cost of $109,000. Phase I of the project was previously approved.

For more information, contact ASHRAE, 1791 Tullie Circle N.E., Atlanta, GA 30329; 800-527-4723 or 404-636-8400; 404-321-5478 (fax); www.ashrae.org (website).

Publication date: 08/12/2002

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