5 September, 12:00
High levels of moisture in the home, office and work environment has a negative impact on your health, electronic and mechanical equipment, furniture, fixtures and fittings and even indoor plants and pets.
Air quality is measured in the amount of toxins and the humidity levels present and one should not underestimate the importance of humidity as it directly correlates to creating an active breeding ground for fungus, mites and bacteria.
There are thousands of species of mould, which is like fungi and requires moisture in order to grow.
Mould does not derive energy through photosynthesis like most other plants, but it uses heterotrophy to breakdown organic matter. By secreting enzymes, it degrades complex substances into more simplistic forms, causing decomposition. In nature this is a very important proses and essential to the recycling of nutrients in the ecosystem.
In your basement or for that matter anywhere in your home or work environment, mould is simply bad news.
We can’t detect mould as single discrete organisms with the naked eye and only see it when it has formed large colonies called a mycelium.
Moulds reproduce by producing large numbers of spores that may remain airborne for long periods, it can cling to clothing and fur, your skin and hair, but most importantly, you breathe it in.
Eye and throat irritation, skin rashes, sneezing, itchy throat and/or coughing are all symptoms related to mould allergies. People who suffer from asthma attacks are especially at risk as mould spores can and do aggravate their condition.
Eliminate Dust Mites.
It is just as well that we can’t see dust mites with the naked eye or none of us will ever sleep. These microscopic mites can be found everywhere and in alarmingly big quantities.
They especially thrive in dark humid conditions, beds, curtains, furniture and carpeted areas. Nearly 100,000 mites can live in one square yard of carpet and lucky for us they are not parasitic. They live on the miniscule flakes of dead skin that humans and our animal companions shed daily.
Our allergic reaction to dust mites is in actual fact a reaction to their droppings, not that it makes it sound any better, but knowing that they do not bite or consume our blood might bring a bit of relieve to some.
It is estimated that mites may be a factor in 50 – 80% of asthmatics and they play a leading role in causing eczema, hay fever and many more allergic conditions.
Symptoms of dust mite allergies are usually respiratory in nature (sneezing, itching, watery eyes, wheezing, coughing etc.) Other allergic reactions may include headaches, fatigue and depression.
Infants are especially susceptible and over exposure to mites in the first year of a baby’s life could lead to a lifelong allergy. Since there is no cure for mite allergies, it is important to prevent and control dust mite levels.
Prevent cockroach, millipede, beetle and rodent infestation.
It is not only microscopic life that flourish under humid conditions. Many indoor pests also favour dark moist environments to make their homes. Cockroaches, millipedes, beetles and silverfish all love to crawl around in the dark damp corners of your home, from where they emerge at night to scavenge for food.
The same goes for rodents.
Protects your Home.
High humidity levels impact negatively on the structural integrity of your home. Moisture can cause wood to warp, crack and rot and metal fittings rust and corrode. Mould growth is bad for cement and brick work and over sustained periods of time it can cause significant damage.
The musty smell you get in damp building goes hand In hand with mould and fungal growth, often indicating that curtains, furniture, carpets etc. are being broken down by mould and rot.
Prolonged exposure of your electronic equipment to high levels of humidity will result in moisture build up within your devices, causing major damage, leading in turn to great expense.
Improving air quality and creating a more pleasant living environment.
Humidity directly effects the comfort levels of the environment. The ambient temperature will feel hotter on warm days when the humidity is high resulting in greater discomfort. The reverse is also true during cold conditions.
With this in mind, by controlling the humidity levels in your home and work environment, you could save on your heating and air conditioning costs since the ambient temperature will already be equalised.
Better air quality in the workplace will automatically also lead to higher productivity. If you are breathing air that is fresh and unpolluted you will be able to stay more focused on your tasks than when you are being exposed to contaminated, mouldy air.
You will also find that sleep is greatly improved once you have reduced the humidity in the air. Once again, for those who have young children or infants, this is of utmost importance as exposure to mites and mould spores can lead to lifelong allergies.
Everyone will benefit from living environments that are less humid and free from allergens.
While it is easy to understand the importance of having good, clean and dry air in your home and work environment, it is also of the utmost importance when it comes to industry.
Whether you rely on warehouse storage, have basements in buildings or manufacturing plants, chances are that you will have equipment, raw materials and goods that needs to be kept safe and dry.
For large arias or arias that are in a flood plain or that needs to be dried out in the shortest possible time, Cozler Commercial dehumidifiers will have a solution for you.
Different types of industrial dehumidifiers.
When you are choosing a dehumidifier to meet your industrial application needs, there are three different types to consider.
1. Refrigeration Dehumidifiers: These are the most common type and they are effective in drawing moist air across a refrigerated evaporator with the aid of a fan. The moisture condenses as a result and is thereby removed from the air which in turn is reheated by a condenser coil and released back into the room. This type of dehumidifier is best suited to areas with higher ambient temperatures and a high dew point temperature. They are less effective in cold climates.
2. Spray Dehumidifiers: A spray dehumidifier cools water to a temperature that is below that of the atmospheric dew point, causing water to condense onto it faster than what it can evaporate. These devices mix spays of cold water and air to capture the moisture from the air. This proses also pulls pollutants and contaminants such as pollen from the air and therefor Spray dehumidifiers are also referred to as “air washers”
3. Ionic Membrane Dehumidifiers: These dehumidifiers use an ionic membrane (solid polymer electrolyte membrane – SPE) to move moisture in or out of a sealed enclosure. The appeal of Ionic membrane dehumidifiers lies in the fact that they require very little maintenance, is energy efficient, have no moving parts and operate silently and reliably.
SPE dehumidifiers are frequently used to protect sensitive electronic equipment, museum specimens, valuable books, artwork, scientific apparatus and in hospitals.
How to choose the right dehumidifier for your needs:
Commercial and industrial dehumidifiers are considerably stronger, more efficient and more durable than residential units. They are also more expensive. However one should keep in mind that these units are made from heavier more durable materials and have a much greater capacity than their domestic equivalents, making investing in them a worthwhile proposition.
When choosing a dehumidifier, there are certain guidelines that one could follow to ensure that you select a unit that will be optimised for your specific needs.
- First off, you need to determine the cubic dimensions of the area that you wish to dehumidify. ( length multiplied by width multiplied by height )
- Next, you will need to find out what is the recommended Air Changes per Hour (ACH)
This (ACH) is very easy, all you have to do is look at your humidity levels:
Extremely Wet :
This indicate humidity levels between 90% - 100% where you can actually see large puddles or standing water and your recommended ACH is therefor 6
With humidity levels between 80% - 90% you will expect to see wet spots, mould, mildew and water stains and an ACH of 5 is recommended.
Humidity levels of 70% - 80% will result in the area having visible moisture on the walls and floor combined with a strong mildew smell. An ACH of 4 would be recommended for very damp conditions.
At humidity levels of 60% - 70% the area would feel damp and will have a musty smell. This is typical for basements and we recommend an ACH of 3 for these conditions.
Now that you have determined the cubic dimensions of the area and have established what ACH you require, you can work out the recommended CFM. (CFM is Cubic Feet per Minute and is the measure of how much air a dehumidifier can process.)
To work out the CFM, you multiply the cubic square footage by the ACH value and divide that number by 60 (minutes). This will give you your recommended CFM.(Should you not be able to find a unit with a high enough CFM, the recommendation is that you purchase 2 or more units.)
Buying a humidifier that exceed your basic needs could save you costs in the long run. Consider that if the dehumidifier you purchase is somewhat stronger than your minimum requirements, it will not need to work continuously. This means that it will be more cost effective by using less energy. A another consideration is that you will be able to select a lower power setting, thereby reducing the noise level and once again, using less electricity.
A Dehumidifier is a worthwhile investment
Ultimately, the dehumidifier you choose to purchase is an investment. One, because it saves and protects your valuable property. Water and moisture damage can very easily amount to large sums of money when it comes to repairs and replacements. In a workplace scenario, this can also lead to costly down time when equipment fails in their operation, causing a loss in productivity.
Anyone who are warehousing produce and goods will know that risking any kind of damage to their merchandise would be plain recklessness. Therefore investing in adequate dehumidification is a no brainer.
Perhaps the most important investment a dehumidifier brings is the investment that you make in the health of your family and workforce. We have already looked at the most common health benefits that comes about from having clean, fresh and dry air. A dehumidifier will give you the peace of mind that your loved ones are not exposed to hazardous allergens in the air and that household pests are being discouraged from spreading.
Dehumidifiers not only protect your family and valuables, it is also a very effective cost saving device. By reducing the moisture levels in the air, you are also reducing the need for extra cooling and heating, saving energy and lowering electricity consumption. In addition to this, running a dehumidifier alongside your air conditioning unit, will reduce the work load on your air conditioner. This will limit the wear and tear on your air conditioner, prolonging its life and you will be able to run your AC for shorter periods of time.
Some more considerations when selecting a dehumidifier.
There are just a few details that one should bear in mind when choosing a dehumidifier for your business or residential needs. ·
- We have already covered Space in the section above where we looked at ACH and CFM and how it relates to the cubic dimensions of the area that you wish to dehumidify and there is no need to reiterate it here.
- The next consideration that we have to keep in mind is Drainage. Dehumidifiers collects water that is after all its primary function. It is therefore important to avail yourself with how much water is collected and how you are to dispose of it. Many dehumidifiers have a building pump that will allow the unit to dispose of collected water automatically, others have a water level indicator that warn you when the reservoir needs to be emptied.
- When you choose a dehumidifier it is beneficial to select a unit that has a built in humidistat (a sensor that measures the humidity in the air) in most cases you will be able to select a desired humidity level you wish to maintain.
- The manual controls should be intuitive and easy to master. In addition to that, there should also be software available and in some cases, with modern smart dehumidifiers there might also be a mobile controlled app available.
- Air filters are not necessary always a feature in all models of industrial and commercial dehumidifiers, but an appliance that does offer the added capacity to filter the air might be well worth your consideration.
Setting up your dehumidifier.
Setting the humidity level.
The most comfortable humidity level is between 30% - 50%, any percentage higher than that will encourage dust mites, mildew and mould and it becomes uncomfortable for people as it effects the ambient temperature. Higher humidity levels may also trigger allergies and respiratory conditions.
Positioning your dehumidifier.
It is important to allow enough space around the appliance for air to freely flow in and out of the dehumidifier. Most mobile units release air through vents at the top of the appliance, but even so, always allow for sufficient open space around the unit.
Close windows and doors.
Dehumidifiers are most effective in enclosed environments. By keeping doors and windows closed your unit will perform at its maximum and will not need to run for as long, saving you on energy costs.
Empty the water tank regularly.
Dehumidifiers that do not have a building pump to expel waste water automatically have an indicator light that will show when the tank is full. These type of units also switch off automatically when the tank is full and needs to be emptied.
Keep the filter clean.
Dehumidifiers that have been fitted with an air filter will only work optimally as long as the filter is being kept clean. Make sure that the filter is washed and dried on a regular basis and replace it when it gets worn or damaged. At the same time, it is also important to ensure that the grills at the air intake and outlets are being kept clean as dirt will restrict airflow, limiting the performance of your unit.
Temperature variations and its effects on your dehumidifier.
Commercial and industrial dehumidifiers are robust and can function effectively at temperatures as low as 33F. In colder areas and in environments where sub-zero temperatures occur, it is however recommended that you make use of a desiccant dehumidifier.
Desiccant dehumidifiers typically make use of naturally absorbing materials such as silica gel to remove moisture from the air. (Silicon dioxide – SiO2 is the same material that is found in quartz. It contains millions of microscopic pores that absorb and hold moisture from the environment. In essence silicon dioxide is porous sand.) A desiccant dehumidifier draws air into the unit where it then passes over a rotating wheel containing silica gel that absorbs the moisture. A small percentage of air is then heated and passes back through the wheel. This is known as reactivation air. Any moisture that is present in the wheel is then released into this, the reactivation air that leaves the unit as moist warm air and is in turn vented outside of the area being dehumidified. Desiccant dehumidifiers are the ideal solution for cooler climates, environments with low humidity and areas that needs deep drying, for example hardwood floors. The advantage of these dehumidifiers is that they do not produce water and can therefore be used in sub-zero conditions. Because they do not have a compressor, this type of dehumidifier is very quiet to operate.
Conclusion and summery.
With so many different applications and as many diverse circumstances and different environments you are able to choose from various dehumidifiers, all geared to solve specific moisture problems.
Now that you have a better insight and a broader understanding as to how dehumidifiers work and how they can solve your humidity challenges, albeit a domestic or industrial/commercial scenario, you can now make an informed decision when it comes to making your final choice and purchase the dehumidifier that is best suited to your specific needs.
Dehumidifiers have been designed to comply with your needs and as such they offer many features that are aimed at making your life easier, safer, healthier and more comfortable.
Look out for features such as portability and caster wheels should your circumstances require frequent moving.
For some applications noise levels are a consideration and there are defiantly models available that can operate at lower noise levels. For the most part though, dehumidifiers have a compressor that in itself is not a quiet piece of equipment. Ionic Membrane and Desiccant dehumidifiers does offer very quiet operation and might be options worth considering.
Lastly, I would like to reiterate that buying a commercial or industrial dehumidifier should be seen as an investment and not viewed as an unnecessary expense. By protecting and ensuring the health and wellbeing of your family and loved ones you are investing in your future.