Humidifiers and dehumidifiers

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1 زبان تخصصی مهندسی تکنولوژي تا سیسات حرارتی و برودتی Humidifiers and dehumidifiers Humidity-Control Methods Humidifiers, by definition, are devices for adding moisture to the air. Thus, to humidify is to increase the density of water vapor within a given space or room. Air humidification is affected by vaporization of water and always requires heat for its proper functioning. Thus, devices that function to add moisture to the air are termed humidifiers, whereas devices that function to remove moisture from the air are termed dehumidifiers. Humidifiers As previously noted, air humidification consists of adding moisture. Following are the types of humidifiers used in air-conditioning systems: Spray-type air washers Pan evaporative humidifiers Electrically operated humidifiers Air-operated humidifiers Air-Washer Method An air washer essentially consists of a row of spray nozzles inside a chamber or casing. A tank at the bottom of the chamber provides for collection of water as it falls through the air and comes into intimate contact with the wet surface of the chamber baffles. The water is generally circulated by means of a pump, the warm water being passed over refrigerating coils or blocks of ice to cool it before being passed to the spray chamber. The water lost in evaporation is usually replaced automatically by the use of a float arrangement, which admits water from the main as required. In many locations, the water is sufficiently cool to use as it is drawn from the source. In other places, the water is not cool enough and must be cooled by means of ice or with a refrigerating machine. The principal functions of the air washer are to cool the air passed through the spray chamber and to control humidity. In many cases, the cooling coils are located in the bottom of the spray chamber so that as the warm spray descends, it is cooled and ready to be again sprayed by the pump. In some cases, the water is passed through a double-pipe arrangement and is cooled on the counter-current principle. Figure 1 shows a sketch of an air washer. In this case, the spray pipes are mounted vertically. In some instances, the spray pipes are horizontal so that the sprays are directed downward. As some of the finer water particles tend to be carried along with the air current, a series of curved plates or baffles is generally used, which forces the cooled and humidified air to change the direction of flow, throwing out or eliminating the water particles in the process. Figure 1 Elementary diagrams showing essential parts of air-washer unit with identification of parts.

2 Pan Humidifiers Figure 2 shows the essential parts of the pan-type humidifier. The main part is a tank of water heated by low-pressure steam or forced hot water where a water temperature of 200 F or higher is maintained. The evaporative-type humidifier is fully automatic, the water level being controlled by means of a float control. In operation, when the relative humidity drops below the humidity-control setting, the humidifier fan blows air over the surface of the heated water in the tank. The air picks up moisture. The air is blown to the space to be humidified. When the humidity control is satisfied, the humidifier fan stops. Figure 2 Typical evaporative pan humidifier showing operative components. Electrically Operated Humidifiers Dry-steam electrically operated humidifiers operate by means of a solenoid valve, which is energized by a humidistat. When the relative humidity drops slightly below the desired level set by the humidistat (see Figure 3), a solenoid valve actuated by the humidistat admits steam from the separating chamber to the re-evaporating chamber. Steam passes from this chamber through the muffler directly to the atmosphere. The fan (which is energized when the solenoid valve opens) assists in dispersing the steam into the area to be humidified. When the relative humidity reaches the desired level, the humidistat closes the solenoid valve and stops the fan. Air-Operated Humidifiers Air-operated humidifying units operate in the same manner as electrical units, except that they utilize a pneumatic hygrostat as a humidity controller and an air operator to open or close the steam valve (see Figure 4). A decrease in relative humidity increases the air pressure under a spring-loaded diaphragm to open the steam valve wider. An increase in relative humidity reduces the pressure under the diaphragm and allows the valve to restrict the steam flow. In a humidifier operation of this type, the steam supply is taken off the top of the header (see Figure 5). Any condensate formed in the supply line is knocked down to the humidifier drain by a baffle inside the inlet of the humidifier-separating chamber.

3 Figure 3 Armstrong dry-steam humidifier for direct discharge of steam into the atmosphere of the area to be humidified. Any droplets of condensation picked up by the stream as it flows through the humidifier cap when the steam valve opens will be thrown to the bottom of the re-evaporating chamber. Pressure in this chamber is essentially atmospheric. Since it is surrounded by steam at supply pressure and temperature, any water is re-evaporated to provide dry steam at the outlet. The humidifier outlet is also surrounded by steam at supply pressure to ensure that there will be no condensation or drip at this point. A clamp-on temperature switch is attached to the condensate drain line to prevent the electric or pneumatic operator from opening the steam valve until the humidifier is up to steam temperature.

4 Figure 4 Armstrong dry-steam humidifier with steam-jacket distribution. Figure 5 Operation of Armstrong dry-steam humidifier for area humidification. Dehumidifiers The removal of moisture from the air is termed dehumidification. Air dehumidification is accomplished by one of two methods: cooling and adsorption. Dehumidification can be accomplished by an air washer, providing the temperature of the spray is lower than the dew point of the air passing through the unit. If the temperature of the spray is higher than the dew point, condensation will not take place. Air washers having refrigerated sprays usually have their own recirculating pump. Electric Dehumidification An electric dehumidifier operates on the refrigeration principle. It removes moisture from the air by passing the air over a cooling coil. The moisture in the air condenses to form water, which then runs off

5 the coil into a collecting tray or bucket. The amount of water removed from the air varies, depending on the relative humidity and volume of the area to be dehumidified. In locations with high temperature and humidity conditions, 3 to 4 gallons of water per day can usually be extracted from the air in an averagesize home. When the dehumidifier is first put into operation, it will remove relatively large amounts of moisture until the relative humidity in the area to be dried is reduced to the value where moisture damage will not occur. After this point has been reached, the amount of moisture removed from the air will be considerably less. This reduction in moisture removal indicates that the dehumidifier is operating normally and that it has reduced the relative humidity in the room or area to a safe value. The performance of the dehumidifier should be judged by the elimination of dampness and accompanying odors rather than by the amount of moisture that is removed and deposited in the bucket. A dehumidifier cannot act as an air conditioner to cool the room or area to be dehumidified. In operation, the air that is dried when passed over the coil is slightly compressed, raising the temperature of the surrounding air, which further reduces the relative humidity of the air. Controls As mentioned previously, the dehumidifier (see Figure 6) operates on the principles of the conventional household refrigerator. It contains a motor-operated compressor, a condenser, and a receiver. In a dehumidifier, the cooling coil takes the place of the evaporator, or chilling unit, in a refrigerator. The refrigerant is circulated through the dehumidifier in the same manner as in a refrigerator. The refrigerant flow is controlled by a capillary tube. The moisture-laden air is drawn over the refrigerated coil by means of a motor-operated fan or blower. Figure 6 Automatic electric dehumidifier. The dehumidifier operates by means of a humidistat (see Figure 7), which starts and stops the unit to maintain a selected humidity level. In a typical dehumidifier, the control settings range from DRY to EXTRA DRY to CONTINUOUS to OFF. For best operation, the humidistat control knob is normally set at EXTRA DRY for initial operation over a period of 3 to 4 weeks. After this period, careful consideration should be given to the dampness in the area being dried. If sweating on cold surfaces has discontinued and the damp odors are gone, the humidistat control should be reset to DRY. At this setting, more economical operation is obtained, but the relative humidity probably will be higher than at the EXTRA DRY setting.

6 Figure 7 Typical humidistat designed to control humidifying or dehumidifying equipment or both with one instrument. After 3 or 4 weeks of operation at the DRY setting, if the moisture condition in the area being dried is still satisfactory, the operation of the dehumidifier should be continued with the control set at this position. However, if at the setting the dampness condition is not completely corrected, the control should be returned to the EXTRA DRY setting. Minor adjustments will usually be required from time to time. Remember that the control must be set near EXTRA DRY to correct the dampness conditions but as close to DRY as possible to obtain the most economical operation. Adsorption-Type Dehumidifiers Adsorption-type dehumidifiers operate on the use of sorbent materials for adsorption of moisture from the air. The sorbents are substances that contain a vast amount of microscopic pores. These pores afford a great internal surface to which water adheres or is adsorbed. A typical dehumidifier based on the honeycomb desiccant wheel principle is shown schematically in Figure 8. The wheel is formed from thin corrugated and laminated asbestos sheets rolled to form wheels of various desired diameters and thickness. The wheels are impregnated with a desiccant cured and reinforced with a heat-resistant binder. The corrugations in the honeycomb wheel form narrow flutes perpendicular to the wheel diameter. Approximately 75 percent of the wheel face area is available for the adsorption or dehumidifying flow circuit, and 25 percent is available for the reactivation circuit. In the smaller units, the reactivated air is heated electrically; in the larger units, it is heated by electric, steam, or gas heaters. Figure 9 shows another industrial adsorbent dehumidifier of the stationary-bed type. It has two sets of stationary adsorbing beds arranged so that one set is dehumidifying the air while the other set is drying. With the dampers in the position shown, air to be dried flows through one set of beds and is dehumidified while the drying air is heated and circulated through the other set. After completion of drying, the beds are cooled by shutting off the drying air heaters and allowing unheated air to circulate through them. An automatic timer controller is provided to allow the dampers to rotate to the opposite side when the beds have adsorbed moisture to a degree that begins to impair performance.

7 Figure 8 Assembly of components operating on the honeycomb method of dehumidification. Figure 9 Stationary bed type solid-absorbent dehumidifier. Reference: Audel Air Conditioning: Home and commercial, 5th edition, Rex Miller, Mark Richard Miller, Edwin P. Anderson, Wiley Publishing Inc.

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