Manufacturers Discuss What’s Hot in Humidification System Control
Gas-fired humidifers, whole-house dehumidification systems, and more
Hot temperatures and humidity issues leave homeowners feeling irritable and searching for comfort. A few common complaints HVAC technicians hear when humidity problems arise include expensive energy bills, the inability to breathe, and a sticky feeling in the air. That’s where manufacturers come in — crafting products that pertain to the ongoing humidification and dehumidification trends in the current market.
WHAT’S HOT IN HUMIDIFICATION
Humidification products are on the rise as increased customer concern for IAQ continues. Today’s customers are more informed than those of years past because of the plethora of information available to them online.
“We have been seeing an increased interest in gas-fired humidifiers for a number of reasons,” said Phil Lilja, senior product manager, DriSteem. “The operational costs of gas are less expensive than electricity, decreasing the long-term costs of running a gas-fired humidification system. Sometimes, the electrical service in a building is inadequate to supply energy for an electric humidifier, or the electrical demand may have already peaked from other systems within the building. Gas units are also easy to use with popular gas-fired outdoor air handling units.”
As a response to this trend, DriSteem introduced the GTS® humidifier LX series: a gas-fired humidification system with a unique combination of features.
The condensing design of the LX series provides for high efficiency and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) venting while saving money on energy costs with greater than 90 percent efficiency, according to the company. It also boasts ultra-low nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions of under 20 ppm for a clean environment and to meet increasingly stringent regulations.
The use of ultraviolet germicidal (UV-C) lamps for humidification purposes is also increasing.
According to Daniel Jones, president, UV Resources, UV-C light has proven to be a great remedy for high-humidity environments.
“Introducing humidification to an environment, while necessary at times, can create challenges when it comes to IAQ,” he said. “Specifically, microbes flourish in warm, damp environments. When surfaces become wet and remain wet, mold and bacteria can grow unabated. Even in the most sensitive environment of a health care facility, final filters downstream of humidifiers can become saturated and turn into a breeding ground. UV-C has proven to be a good antidote for high-humidity environments. By bathing the surfaces with UV-C energy, pathogens will not be able to take hold and surfaces will remain clean.”
In addition, DriSteem has created products for both high-pressure atomization and wetted media systems — two additional trends the company has observed.
Both the high-pressure atomization and wetted media systems draw heat from the air in order to evaporate unheated water that is introduced by either high-pressure nozzles or wetted media.
As water is absorbed in air, the evaporative cooling effect reduces the building’s cooling load.
In order to support these two trends, DriSteem introduced the High Pressure Atomizing System and Wetted Media System.
“The DriSteem High Pressure Atomizing System features an advanced water pump that significantly reduces maintenance demand,” said Lilja. “The high-speed motor in the pump station is designed so that the water pump’s rotating surfaces are cushioned by water, which eliminates the need for oil. This advanced water-lubricated pump does not require a maintenance check until 8,000 hours. Comparatively, systems that use low-speed motors with oil lubricated pumps require frequent oil changes every 500 hours.”
In addition, the company’s Wetted Media System uses the combination of three featured technologies to save energy, maintenance time, and money for contractors and homeowners.
Up-time is maximized with its patented multi-stage system, where individual pumps separately control each of the multiple stages of media. This allows the system to dry out one stage at a time, so remaining stages can operate continuously, evaporating water and cooling the air.
Maintenance time is minimized because water is constantly circulated through the UV germicidal system, while a power flush pump suspends and removes debris.
And finally, the structural integrity of the media is protected by a cycle of concentration control, reducing the frequency of media replacements and lowering costs as a result.
DIVING INTO DEHUMIDIFICATION
According to Technavio, a global technology research and advisory company, in its 2017 report on the global residential dehumidifiers market, the most widely used dehumidifiers are portable dehumidifiers, constituting more than 80 percent of the sales in the residential dehumidifiers market. Whole-home dehumidifiers are also trending in the market due to their integration into HVAC systems and other advantages, such as better air filters, hassle-free maintenance, and a short replacement cycle.
Contractors have a unique ability to offer dehumidification equipment that is energy efficient, high capacity, and has a robust design, according to Mike Rimrodt, vice president of marketing, Aprilaire. That unique ability extends into installation configurations, where they can offer not only a more robust stand-alone unit, but a ducted whole-home system from supply-to-return, return-to-return, or finished-space-to-return as well.
Recognizing these trends, the company created the Aprilaire Model 1870 whole-house dehumidifier. The product is a high-capacity ducted unit designed for whole-home dehumidification up to 7,400 square feet. The system is capable of removing up to 130 pints of moisture per day. Designed to function alongside the customer’s HVAC system, this dehumidifier eliminates excess moisture for a healthy living environment.
A growing trend in the dehumidification market is the need for installed dehumidifiers in ductless mini-split applications and in multifamily apartments where there is either no ductwork or not enough room in the mechanical closet for a whole-house dehumidifier.
Ultra-Aire, a Therma-Stor LLC brand, sought to address this need and launched an in-wall dehumidifier that can provide dedicated moisture control in these types of applications.
“The Ultra-Aire MD33 features a slim-profile of only 5 ¾-inches deep, allowing it to easily fit inside 2-by-6-inch stud walls and provide a solution in environmental control technology that the industry has sought for years,” said Nikki Krueger, industry manager, Ultra Aire. “We have already witnessed tremendous results with the Ultra-Aire MD33 resolving moisture issues in several apartments in the Southeast. The HVAC systems, even the smallest ones, cannot effectively control the moisture loads from the occupants and the code-mandated ventilation.”
Products that are trending for dehumidification don’t just look at the issue of dehumidification in isolation; they work to address how to achieve high overall comfort and IAQ. That includes not only effectively removing moisture from the air but efficiently heating and cooling, delivering cleaner indoor air and removing impurities, and creating maximum comfort. Customers don’t want to have to turn to different products and complex systems to achieve these goals — they are looking for simple, easy-to-install and maintain solutions that do it all while helping them reduce long-term operating and maintenance costs.
With that in mind, Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. created its Variable Refrigerant Packaged® (VRP) Heat Pump System.
“Friedrich recently unveiled a new integrated dehumidification option for VRP, solving a major issue for property owners in high-humidity regions where warm, moist air can cause significant maintenance issues and increase mold, unpleasant odors, and allergens,” said Barry Bookout, director of sales, lodging and specialty markets, Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. “By utilizing a hot-gas reheat circuit, the new VRP dehumidification option redirects heat that is typically underutilized to reheat the return air, so the unit can continue to dehumidify longer without overcooling the space. Combined with the exceptional make-up air capabilities and other indoor air quality advantages that come standard, VRP is a simple, flexible, easy-to-install and maintain in-closet solution that eliminates the need for costly and complicated large, specialized systems.”
Whether customers are located in a region that requires humidification or dehumidification products, there are trends in both of these markets that manufacturers are recognizing, and they’re creating quality products to ensure overall customer welfare and comfort.
Publication date: 4/23/2018