Two manufacturers have found a solution to this problem. Dri-Steem and Nortec have both introduced gas-fired humidification systems that make use of propane or natural gas. This alternative is becoming a more efficient and cost-effective way for commercial accounts to take advantage of a humidified atmosphere.
The ManufacturersDri-Steem Humidifier Co. says it was the first manufacturer to develop a gas-fired humidifier back in 1996. Currently, the company is on the second edition of its gas-to-steam (GTS) model.
The GTS works like an automatic humidifier, which uses the company’s Vapor-logic®3 control.
Stephen Wagner, director of sales for the company, says the control is the brains of the humidifier. The control can sense when there is too much or too little humidity and adjusts itself accordingly. With this in mind, the GTS can also be manually adjusted for the desired amount of humidity.
This newer version also has several other benefits. The unit can be placed in a small enclosure. It has two-sided access, which allows for easier maintenance and cleaning. The unit can also be placed outside or on a rooftop if desired.
Wagner also said that the gas-fired humidifier can supply 55 to 600 lbs/hr of steam.
Nortec offers three separate models, each of which has four different capacities. For example, Nortec offers a 100, 200, 300 and 400 version of its GHB, GHP and GHMC models. The GHB100 offers 50 to 100 lbs/hr and the GHB200 offers 100 to 200 lbs/hr, and so on for each type of unit
The GHB is the basic model with an on/off control. This control works with a sensor in the duct system, and lets the humidifier know when there is too much humidity. When the humidifier has reached its maximum load, the humidifier will be alerted and will shut off.
Next is the GHP model, or modulation model. The GHP can be set at a specific amount of lbs/hr. This model is said to give the consumer more precise actual humidity. Both the GHB and GHP can also be manually controlled.
The final model from Nortec is the GHMC model, a micro-computer gas humidifier. The GHMC can work with either an on/off switch or with the modulation control.
Practical BenefitsAlthough both manufacturers’ models are comparable yet different in the way they function, they both have the same goal: humidity control.
Patrice Theriault, gas humidifier product manager for Nortec, says that natural or propane gas is cheaper than electricity. The initial installation of a gas-fired humidifier can be quite pricey, but Theriault says that in the long run it is much cheaper.
“Energy-wise, gas humidification can pay back and is much more lucrative,” Theriault said.
This is especially true in parts of the country where energy rates are very high. High rates can make running a humidification system very costly, but gas-fired humidifiers can drastically bring down the daily expense, says Theriault.
Contractors and manufacturers are beginning to see the positive results of using natural gas. In fact, Herrmidifier Co. has been developing a gas-fired humidifier and plans to have it on the market in six months.
Harry Huggins, engineer for Herrmidifier, says the move is natural. Currently, the company offers a variety of humidification systems for commercial and industrial buildings, but consumers are beginning to ask about the natural gas alternative.
“A lot of people want them because of energy costs,” Huggins said.