How Does a Dehumidifier Control Moisture?

Santa Fe dehumidifiers are designed to control humidity in basements, crawl spaces and other inside spaces.  By controlling the moisture in these spaces there is a reduced risk of health problems, comfort issues and property damage.  But how does it work? Let’s take a closer look at the internal workings of the Santa Fe Advance2 dehumidifier.

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Humid air is pulled  into the dehumidifier and passes through a MERV-8 filter. The Santa Fe Advance2 uses a high-efficiency filter that captures small particles in the air. The humid air then passes over a cold evaporator coil where moisture in the air condenses. The condensed water drops into the drain pan and runs out of the dehumidifier through the drain tube.  The cold, dry air then moves over the condenser coil where it is slightly heated. Dry air is supplied to the basement or crawl space through the dual outlets.

Blog Post 3: How Does Moisture Enter the Home?

There are 3 main sources of moisture in your home; the first being air leaks.  Air can leak into the home through walls, roofs and floors and have damaging effects on a house.  Uncontrolled airflow through the shell not only carries moisture into framing cavities, causing mold and rot, but it can also account for a huge portion of a home’s energy use and can cause indoor-air-quality problems.  In a leaky house, large volumes of air – driven by exhaust fans, the stack effect, and wind – can blow through the floor, walls, and ceiling.

The second source of moisture is diffusion through materials.  This is a process by which vapor spreads or moves through permeable materials caused by a difference in water vapor pressure.  An example of this is when the soil becomes saturated and that moisture enters the crawl space through the walls by vapor diffusion.  Installing a vapor barrier or vapor diffusion retarder can help reduce the rate at which the water vapor can move through a material.

The final source is internally generated moisture.  A family of four can add, on average, up to 25 pints of water to the air simply by washing dishes, taking showers, cooking, and breathing. Adding 4 pints of water to the air in a house at 70°F and 30% RH can boost the RH to 50%. Eight pints can boost RH to 70%.

There’s a great article on the Building Science Corporation website which has additional information on this subject. Here’s a quick link Air Leaks How They Waste Energy and Rot Homes.

Next week we will be sharing the top 10 signs of high moisture. See you then.

Blog Post 2: Help! What’s the Difference Between Relative Humidity and Dew Point?

Many people confuse relative humidity with dew point.  They often hear about dew point on the weather channel, but aren’t really sure what it means. Let’s take a closer look at these two concepts.

To put it simply, relative humidity is the amount of moisture in the air compared to what the air can “hold” at that temperature.  So if I was to say that the relative humidity, which is always measured in a percentage, was 100% that means that the air is holding its maximum water vapor capacity at that temperature.

It’s important to understand that relative humidity is relative to the temperature.  In order to understand this concept, let’s take a look at the diagram below.  The glasses represent the temperature, so the smaller the glass the colder the temperature and vice versa.  When looking at the first glass you notice that colder air has a smaller capacity for holding moisture and has a high relative humidity.  As the temperature increases (glass gets bigger), the air is able to hold more moisture and the relative humidity decreases.   In fact, for every degree that the temperature increases, the relative humidity decreases about 2%.

RH Chart

We don’t always use relative humidity to describe the amount of moisture in the air.  Sometimes we refer to dew point.  The dew point is the temperature at which the relative humidity equals 100%.  Unlike RH, the dew point does not change with air temperature.  In that sense it is an “absolute” measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air.

Dew Point is also a great measure for comfort.  If the dew point is below 60 degrees it is comfortable, but if the dew point gets above 70 degrees then it gets very sticky and uncomfortable.  If you know temperature and relative humidity, you can calculate the dew point using a psychometric calculator or an online calculator, like this one www.dpcalc.org

Come back next week for part three in our series discussing the sources of moisture in your home!

Blog Post 1: The Basics of Moisture Control! (5 Part Series)

Moisture ControlThis series will cover a variety of topics that have to do with the importance of understanding and controlling humidity and moisture in your home. We will discuss the difference between relative humidity and dew point, and why these are important concepts to understand. We will then dive into how moisture enters and is created within your home. Next we will talk about the top 10 signs of high moisture, and finally we will discuss how a dehumidifier can help control humidity and reduce the risk of health problems, comfort issues and property damage.

Check out the first part of our series next week, when we discuss the difference between relative humidity and dew point!

How a Santa Fe Dehumidifier Works

Santa Fe’s free-standing dehumidifiers are powerful enough to control humidity in basements, crawl spaces and other inside spaces. By controlling the moisture in these areas there is a reduced risk of health problems, comfort issues and property damage.

Dehumidifiers regulate humidity by removing moisture from the air; creating living conditions that are comfortable and inhospitable to dust mites, mold and other allergens. This is how dehumidification works. First, the humid air is returned into the dehumidifier through the air filter. After the air passes through this high-efficiency air filter, it then passes over the evaporator coil. The cold surface combined with the humid air forces water to come out through condensation. This water drops into the drain pan and runs out of the dehumidifier through the drain tube. The now cold dry air goes over the condenser coils and is heated, and the warm dry air is now supplied to the basement or crawl space.

There are also products in the Santa Fe line that contain patented air to air heat exchanging technology and dual exhaust, which allows for higher capacity and efficiency, as well as flexible installation options. For more detailed information on the Santa Fe product line, check out our product comparison chart.

What is Stack Effect?

Stack effect is the movement of warm, dry air rising and escaping through the upper levels of the home and cooler, wet air finding its’ way into the lower levels in order for the home to equalize.

Excess moisture in crawlspaces and basements often migrates to the upper levels of the home through a “stack effect”. In essence, whatever air is below the house is also inside the house.

stackeffect_bigStack Effect Contributes To:

  • High Humidity
  • Pest Infestations
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality
  • Mold Growth
  • Musty Odors
  • Damage to Property

Why Dehumidification?
Indoor humidity levels, especially in basements and crawlspaces, can rise dramatically in the summer months and during the shoulder seasons. This is why dehumidification in these spaces is essential for proper humidity control. Santa Fe Dehumidifiers are the solution to healthy, comfortable living.

Crawlspace Encapsulation Overview

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Homes that are properly encapsulated, continuously monitored and treated with a Santa Fe dehumidifier are protected from both the humid outside air and the ground’s natural moisture. An added bonus is that this strategy minimizes fungi and mildew growth, guaranteeing a more structurally sound and healthier home.
Crawlspace Facts
  • According to a study by Advanced Energy, homeowners can expect to reduce their energy bills by 15-18% by sealing off their crawlspace. They also determined that homes with vented crawlspaces were 19 times more likely to experience relative humidity levels in excess of 70% than homes with encapsulated crawlspaces.
  • As much as 50% of the air in a home’s living space originates from the crawlspace.
  • Most pests are attracted to moist environments; as a result, moisture control is an important part of any fully integrated pest management system.

 

Spring is in the Air – Time to Get Your Dehumidifier Ready for April Showers

Early Spring is always a good time to check and prepare your Santa Fe dehumidifier before the humidity season:

  • Be sure to change out the filter every 3-6 months.  A clean filter with help the dehumidifier perform efficiently and effectively and ensure that the inside of the dehumidifier stays clean; this will extend the life of your dehumidifier.
  • If your Santa Fe dehumidifier has a pre-filter, vacuum it off every 3-6 months and replace every couple of years (when it starts to breakdown).
  • Check the drain line to ensure there is nothing blocking the condensate from the dehumidifier.  If you have a condensate pump, be sure to test the pump by filling it with water to confirm the float switch is working.  It’s always a good idea to empty your condensate pump at the end of every humidity season before winter.  This will prevent any potential issues in the spring.
  • Be sure to reposition the dehumidistat / control to 50% relative humidity if it was turned off or setback before winter.
  • Be sure the intake and supply of the dehumidifier are not blocked.

Follow these simple steps every Spring to help extend the life of your Santa Fe dehumidifier and ensure effective dehumidification.

Santa Fe Classic Dehumidifier – “Does Exactly What it is Advertised to Do!”

The Santa Fe Classic was specifically designed for basements. The high-capacity (275 cfm) blower on the unit moves air in a way that no small conventional unit can. The Santa Fe Classic’s vertical configuration and flow-down design perform exceptionally well in basements, and provide options for installation that no other unit can match. The optional condensate pump and ducting kits provide the flexibility necessary for almost any application. No conventional dehumidifier can perform as efficiently and effectively in basements as the Santa Fe Classic.

“Open the box, plug it in, DONE! It is solid, well-built, no frills and gets the job done exactly as advertised. The energy efficiency and removal rate that Sante Fe claims is accurate as I actually measured both (Yes, I am a dorky engineer) It is still made in America to top it all off. A bit pricey, but you gotta pay to play… I am very pleased with this unit mostly because it is and does exactly what it is advertised to do!” Greg Arserio from Rochester, NY.  Click Here to read more reviews on the Santa Fe Classic.