Important Considerations For Dehumidifiers For Country Clubs, Indoor Pools, And Fitness Centers

Why should consumers consider using dehumidifiers at locations such as country clubs, indoor pools, and fitness centers? What benefits do dehumidifiers bring to the table in these locations in particular?

These are good questions and not at all uncommon, particularly for those who own or operate such facilities. There seems to be a lot of conversation about dehumidifiers today, and many people know someone who swears by the benefits of these machines.

At the same time, almost everyone out there has been in a situation in which they’ve had a problem with excess humidity, whether it’s simple discomfort (a common indoor issue during both the warmer and colder months of the year) or more serious problems, such as an increase in potentially dangerous microorganisms (such as mold and mildew). Insects also thrive in humid conditions (meaning an increase in mites, for example).

Humidity poses a variety of challenges. Excess humidity can result in damaged electronics, and flooded areas often require dehumidification so that they don’t develop into health hazards. Day in and day out, humidity seeps into structures in a variety of ways, whether due to everyday activities or the weather or other factors. The trick is to have neither too much nor too little of it, and that’s where dehumidifiers come in.

Let’s take a look at a few locations where dehumidifiers may be useful on a regularly basis.

Country Clubs

Country clubs are a place where club members can congregate and enjoy a variety of activities, from golf to skiing. As a result, it can be difficult to make general statements about country clubs as what they may offer and how they may offer it depends on the club’s location. However, what they have in common is they draw throngs of people who come together to enjoy common activities.

Humidity can be a serious problem if left unchecked, particularly during winter. Indoor areas can quickly become humid and stuffy when a large amount of people are present, particularly if their presence involves cooking, swimming, or some other form of moisture.

Of course, beyond the health issues, many people find humid indoor locations to be highly uncomfortable. This is particularly an issue for facilities where people go for their leisure time and to be comfortable, such as a country club. With a dehumidifier, country club facilities can control their humidity levels and make sure that their members are enjoying themselves.

Indoor Pools

Many people enjoy indoor pools, and it doesn’t matter what the weather outside is doing. They’re a great place to go and get some exercise or relax. However, indoor pool owners or maintenance crews know that humidity can quickly become a problem. A large body of water means evaporation, which in turn can mean a very significant amount of humidity.

In addition, issues with construction can contribute to excessive humidity presence. This humidity can easily reach levels of excess, and beyond the issues of mold and mildew, this humidity often causes foul-smelling air, steam, fogged windows, and premature structural problems.

In environments featuring indoor pools, a dehumidifier can make the difference between a moldy, crumbling bowl and a get-away location that everyone enjoys. When designing indoor pools, dehumidifiers must be taken into consideration.

Fitness Centers

Fitness centers are prone to humidity. One of the potential reasons for this is straightforward: fitness centers are often bustling with individuals pushing themselves to their limits, resulting in a combination of sweat and heat. Not only can this constant perspiration result in a humidity increase, but all of the usual issues associated with the poor humidity control in indoor environments may be present, promoting mold and mildew growth and potential structural issues.

Fitness centers demand clean and balanced air, and when visitors don’t receive this, they’re likely to complain or actively avoid a facility As with any other location, a properly used dehumidifier means not only increased safety, but also increased comfort for those that frequent the building.

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What Is The Process Of Dehumidification?

No one likes humid conditions. As the air becomes saturated with water vapor, it can feel oppressive, make it difficult to keep cool and make it tough to breathe. Humidity is particularly troublesome for people with respiratory conditions, and it can cause fragile items to deteriorate faster. In short, humidity is a nuisance, and both home and business owners are combatting it with dehumidifying technology. But how do dehumidifiers work, and what is the science behind their operation?

Dehumidifiers come in two primary varieties. Thermal condensers are common, and include standard air conditioners, which are found everywhere. Desiccant, or absorptive, dehumidifiers are an emerging technology which can provide relief in settings where thermal condensers aren’t as effective. Let’s go into how each works, and what they can offer a home or business.

Relative Humidity and Dew Point

Thermal condensers operate by manipulating dew point and relative humidity. What, though, are dew point and relative humidity?

Dew point is actually what most people think of when they consider humidity. Simply put, it’s the temperature at which water vapor will begin condensing and form dew. The dew point is expressed as a temperature, and usually ranges between 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So, for example, if the dew point is at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, then as soon as the ambient air temperature drops to 70 degrees, water in the air will condense at the same rate it evaporates. If the ambient air temperature drops under 70 degrees, water in the air will condense at a faster rate than it evaporates, forming an excess of dew. This is why there is usually a lot of dew on the ground in the morning, when it’s the coolest.

Put another way, the dew point refers to the temperature that would result in maximum water vapor saturation. So, if the dew point is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, then at 70 degrees, the air can no longer hold any more water vapor.

The dew point is measured by meteorologists using hygrometers. Hygrometers include a metal mirror that cools as air passes over it. Eventually, it cools to the point where water vapor begins condensing on it, and this temperature is the dew point. Using hygrometers, meteorologists can calibrate their humidity instruments and make precise estimates regarding the amount of humidity in the air.

Relative humidity is different. Unlike dew point, relative humidity is a ratio, and refers to the amount of water in the air, compared to the amount of water it could hold if the air was fully saturated with water vapor. So, for instance, if the relative humidity is 30 percent, then the air is only holding 30 percent of the water vapor it could hold. Relative humidity is a poor metric to use when determining comfort, as it does not address the actual amount of vapor in the air, and is greatly affected by increases or decreases in temperature.

Relative humidity rises quickly as the temperature drops because air becomes denser as it cools. As the air increases in density, there is less room to accommodate water molecules floating in the air, and eventually they have to condense into liquid water once there is no longer any room to fit the water vapor. So, it’s possible for the relative humidity to be high without adversely affecting comfort if the temperature is cool enough outside. At colder temperatures, there just isn’t enough room for water vapor to reach high enough concentrations outside for it to be noticeable.

This last concept is the guiding principle behind thermal condensers.

How Thermal Condensers Work

Thermal condensers are the go to technology in most homes, and even conventional air conditioners act like thermal condenser dehumidifiers to an extent, though they are less efficient in this regard. Both operate using refrigerant that is manipulated physically to alter its temperature and the amount of water it can hold. Here’s a snapshot of how a system operates:

    1. A fan pulls in humid ambient air of moderate temperature, and directs it over a series of evaporator coils.
    2. The coils, filled with expanded, cold refrigerant, drop the air’s temperature to below its dew point, raising relative humidity beyond its saturation point and causing air vapor to condense rapidly.
    3. The condensed vapor is pumped to a drain outside the home or is collected for later removal.
    4. The refrigerant is channeled to a compressor that ramps up the pressure and increases it temperature as a result. This refrigerant is pumped to a set of condenser coils.
    5. The cold, dry air is then directed over the hot condenser coils, warming it up and increasing its capacity for picking up humidity. This air is then pushed back in to the room to repeat the cycle again.

Although the dehumidifier’s components are each a feat of engineering, the overall system is easy to understand and is extremely reliable. Systems that use refrigerant are most efficient in settings where temperature and relative humidity are both high, and in these settings, thermal condensers can quickly remove humidity out of the air.

However, at lower relative humidity (usually around 45 percent and below), thermal condensers have to be cooled to such a degree to maintain below dew point temperatures that they can began icing up. In these situations, a desiccant dehumidifier makes more sense, so let’s address how those work next.

How Desiccant Dehumidifiers Work

Desiccant dehumidifiers ignore complicating factors like dew point temperature because they operate using a completely different principle. Specifically, desiccants attract water on a chemical level, and can do so through various means. However, the vast majority of desiccant dehumidifiers use silica gel, which cranks up the rate of condensation by greatly increasing the available surface area of water to adhere to and condense. Here’s a quick look at how a desiccant dehumidifier works:

    1. Humid area is drawn into the desiccant dehumidifier, and pushed across a rotating disc impregnated with silica gel. The disc resembles a bundle of straws through which air can flow, and the silica gel is lined along the inside of these tubes.
    2. The silica gel is filled with nano-sized pores, increasing the surface area of the gel exponentially. In fact, a single teaspoon of silica gel has so many pores that its surface area is similar to the surface area of a football field.
    3. With so much area to condense on, the kinetic energy threshold separating vapor molecules and condensed water molecules dips greatly, meaning vapor molecules exhibiting less energy will be much more likely to condense.
    4. As water collects on the disc, a portion of the air drawn into the dehumidifier is heated and used to recharge the condensation so that it vaporizes again. This air is ducted to the exterior to deposit the water outside and is returned to the building. The remaining dry air is shunted back into the room.

Because desiccant dehumidifiers work using chemical properties, they are unaffected by low dew points and relative humidity. This makes them much more efficient in drier settings and they can be used to drop the relative humidity of a space to nearly one percent. However, they aren’t as energy efficient and fast as thermal condensers when the temperature and relative humidity is higher, so many locations use both to complement each other’s strengths and shortcomings.

That’s a quick look at the science behind the most common dehumidifiers on the market. Of course, it gets more complicated than that, and the physics involved are fit for a college level class, but what’s important is that both technologies are reliable, easy to control and are extremely effective at doing their jobs.

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What Makes a Great Dehumidifier For a Water Restoration Company?

There are many factors that make a great dehumidifier for a water restoration286 company but many people look for the wrong things.  It has always been my thought that I would choose actual performance over marketing hype.  However, many people in our industry choose a dehumidifier off of how it looks or how small it is or by information they get from the manufacturer.

I would like to see people choose a dehumidifier based on performance, then the manufacturers would be more apt to come up with new technologies.   In the article I wrote on my website I give details of the many things I see as crucial when choosing a dehumidifier.  First and foremost though has to be choosing a low grain refrigerant (LGR) dehumidifier over a conventional / standard refrigerant.

In my opinion, you should not be in the water restoration industry if you are not going to choose good quality equipment.  Choosing a standard/conventional dehumidifier instead of an LGR or desiccant dehumidifier is just not very smart.   So do us all a favor, if you own a standard / conventional dehumidifier use it for a boat anchor not as a tool to dry a house or business.   Once these units are eliminated from the industry the quality of work and speed of work will go up.

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How to Clean and Care for a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers will run for years if they are properly dehumidifiermaintained and cared for.  It’s not complicated but is often overlooked.  By doing a little maintenance from time to time you will not only extend the life of the dehumidifier but you will help keep it functioning at full capacity.

First are the filters.  The filter in your dehumidifier should be changed often.  Just like the filter in your air conditioner unit it needs changing from time to time.  This will help keep the coils cleaner and allow you more time in between full cleanings.

Then you will eventually need to clean the coils, in the case of a refrigerant unit, or the desiccant material, in the case of a desiccant dehumidifier.   Both can be done fairly easily and will help keep the efficiency of the unit high.  After all if you own a dehumidifier don’t you want it to function at a high level.

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Determining How Much Dehumidification is Needed

How to dry a wood floor

Drying a wood floor

Determining dehumidifier requirements on drying jobs can be complicated enough but I would like to talk about one aspect of the puzzle I think is over looked.  For years we have taken the total cubic footage of an area to be dried and used that to calculate how many dehumidifiers you need for a particular situation.  You also need to take into account things like number of people using the space while drying, temperature of the area, and the amount of porous material within the area that is affected.  This is all well and good and most drying contractors can calculate this pretty efficiently and quickly.  However, do we ever account for the fact that the return air plenum is inside our area to be dried?

Say we have a 2500 square foot house with 10 foot ceilings and about a 1000 square foot of the house affected by a fresh water leak.  We put up containment on the 1000 square feet area and determine that we need 250 pints of dehumidification to properly dry the 10,000 c.f.  However it ends up taking you 5 days to dry the area when it should have taken you 3.  Then you realize the air conditioner return plenum for the entire house is in the containment area.  So every time the air conditioner kicks on it takes some of your dry air and puts it throughout the entire house.  Do you need to account for this in some way?  Are adjusters going to understand and approve any extra equipment or extra steps to account for the loss in dry air?

Here’s two ways you could handle it.  First, figure your dehumidifier requirements on the entire house.  Still put up containment but put all your dehumidifiers inside the contained area.

Second only use the required dehumidifiers for the contained area and rig up some kind of ducting from the return air plenum to the containment barrier and pull unaffected air into the return so you don’t loose your contained drying chamber.

So how do you handle it?  Have you even ever thought about it?

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Trying to Dry a Walk-in Gun Safe

We get some unusual calls here at Professional Drying Equipment.  JustDehumidifier the other day we got a call from a guy looking to purchase a dehumidifier for a walk-in, fully air conditioned gun safe.  Now this thing was big and it was located inside a gun store.  The problem was it had high humidity inside the safe during the times of day that it was closed.  This was causing some issues with the things inside the safe.  We figured out what size and type of dehumidifier would be best for them based on some simple questions we ask.  Now the customer is enjoying the benefits of their new dehumidifier.

So if you have an odd situation where high humidity is an issue, feel free to give us a call or email and we can help you work through the process of buying the correct dehumidifier for your needs.

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Drying a Wood Floor

Wood floor drying

Wood Floor Drying

Drying a wood floor can be very intimidating to most people.  However it doesn’t have to be.  In Houston we see plenty of wood floors up on screeds and have dried hundreds of them.  Over the years we have tried many different techniques but the one we always come back to is demonstrated in the photo to the right.  By removing one board on one side of the room and another small one on the opposite side of the room we can force air under the floor and dry the entire floor.

Another thing we like to do is to pump the hot dry air from a dehumidifier under the floor.  This could also be done with one of the many heat drying type units on the market today.  To do this though you need to have the correct style of air movers.How to dry a wood floor

Drying a wood floor
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Desiccant, What does it do?

Desiccant, refrigerant, low grain refrigerant, with so manyDesiccant Dehumidifierchoices for dehumidifiers what makes one a better choice than another?  The particular application you plan to use a dehumidifier in, will help to narrow your choices as to which kind and size of dehumidifier you need.  Different styles of dehumidifiers operate better in certain conditions and sometimes the size of a project alone can dictate what kind of dehumidifier would be best.

For instance, a desiccant dehumidifier can operate in a wide range of temperatures and still be efficient while a refrigerant dehumidifier is most efficient between 70 and 90 degrees.  So if you are trying to dry an area that is normally in the 50 degree range a refrigerant style unit would not benefit you.   However, a desiccant style unit would still be able to operate efficiently and remove the excess water that you want gone.  These style units have an absorbent material that takes the humidity out of the air in the form of a gas.  Refrigeration style units will take the humidity out in the form of a liquid and so if it gets to cold in the drying chamber these style units will not function as well and will start to collect ice on their coils.

Another determining factor on which style of dehumidifier to use is the size of the area.  If I am trying to control the humidity in a 100,000 square foot space with 10 foot ceilings then I am going to need a totally different kind of unit than if I am working a 1,000 square feet with 10 foot ceilings.  So the next time you are in the

market for a dehumidifier make sure to talk with a someone that can walk you through the process before you purchase some equipment that will not suit your needs.  Whether it is desiccant, refrigerant, low grain refrigerant, or just an exhaust fan buying the right equipment the first time can really make a difference.

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Portable Air Conditioning

Arctic-Max-Cooling

Portable Air Conditioning

Portable air conditioning can be a real nice thing in many parts of the world.  A central unit may not always be the most practical approach to cooling a certain area.  These small cooling units offer a great alternative for a garage, work room, storage area, or any other area that is about 400 – 500 square feet.

A portable air conditioning unit usually comes with some wheels or casters for easy moving.  This way when the unit is not in use you can move it somewhere out of the way.  These units are usually small enough that they can be moved around by one person.  These units can also remove many gallons of water from the air per day and because of this they come with an onboard pump that will expel the water collected out a 30 foot long tube.

Arctic-Max-Exhaust

Portable Air Conditioning

Another benefit of these cooling units is they are ductable.  So you could set the unit in another room and duct the warm, moist air back to the machine for cooling and then duct the cool dry air back to the desired room.  This would keep the unit out of view and lessen any noise level of the machine.  This gives you a lot of flexibility in how the machine can be used.

All in all, a portable air conditioning unit can be a real benefit in certain scenarios where permanent units are not a viable option.

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Commercial Dehumidifier

There are many styles, sizes, and amounts of water removal when comparing commercial dehumidifiers in the market.  So how do you decide which model you need when you are looking for one to purchase?  This all depends on the amount of air you have to be dried, what goes on in the space you are drying, and many other factors.

If you are in doubt before purchasing we recommend a free consultation with a drying professional that can assist you in making the correct purchase.  Many distributors will help you with this for free and some will even have an engineer to help in the process.  However, here are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing a commercial dehumidifier.

First is the amount of air to be dried.  This is probably the most crucial step and one that most people get wrong.  Say you want to dry a large room, you measure the room but you forgot about including the space on the staircase and the air upstairs above the room.  All this has to be included since it is open to the downstairs large room you are wanting dried.   So when you are looking at your space make sure to include all areas adjacent to the area you are wanting dried.

Next thing to look at is, what happens in this space?  By this I mean is there an indoor pool, is it a commercial kitchen, or are you painting cars.  All of these can put lots of humidity into the air that will need to be controlled but you are probably going to need more dehumidification in an indoor pool than you will in a place that paints cars.

Choosing the correct commercial dehumidifier can be challenging and is usually better off left to the experts.  So seek help before purchasing one.  This way you can know that you choose the correct unit the first time and not have any buyer’s remorse.

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