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Old 07-28-2007, 12:26 AM   #1
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Need humidifier recommendation


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Last edited by Farmer; 07-28-2007 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 07-28-2007, 01:11 AM   #2
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Need humidifier recommendation


Hi Y'all,

This is my first post here and it's gonna be a long one with a lot of questions. Hope you don't mind.

I want a humidifier to fit an odd situation. We have a heat pump with a variable speed air handler. It's controlled with a Honeywell VisionPro IAQ that trims the ECM motor speed for extra dehumidification and will also control a humidifier. We do not use the heat pump for heat. We heat with wood which makes it very dry in winter. We've been using PITA portable humidifiers for years and growing weary of messing with them. There has to be a better way but I'm having difficulty finding something that will work with our configuration as it is.

The air handler lives in a dedicated "closet" with no room for much of anything else because we installed a new, larger unit and it pretty much fills the doorway. The door is a conventionally framed, standard 24" closet door but the bottom of the door, and the floor of this closet, are 2' above the slab. A large cubic box of a return plenum (24"h x 46"w x 36" d) is under that closet floor. This is our entire return system. It has a filter grille under the closet door that pulls in return air from the entire house.

The supply plenum is 18"d x 16"w and is above the air handler and the top of the air handler is at thew same altituse as the top of the door. This plenum and the supply duct system are fiberglass duct board.

Beyond all this, there's the attic but having a running water appliance up there where I'd likely never see a leak until it's too late doesn't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. Besides that, the HVAC system is at the wrong end of the house. I'd have to navigate through 50' of knee deep insulation and trusses to service an attic duct-mounted humidifier.

From what I know of bypass humidifiers, I need to have return and supply ducts in close proximity and need to tap into both. Difficult since we don't have a return duct.

So... I know I should have planned this part out earlier but my old Rheem compressor quickly began developing a terminal disease after a traumatic thunderstorm event and I had to move quickly to get new stuff installed.

Now for the questions:

Is there a humidifier that can live in the return plenum and pump moisture up through the bottom of the air handler to be distributed by the AH blower?

Is there any way to rig up a bypass unit in this lower return plenum and feed the system by ducting the moisture up to the supply plenum? Does a bypass humidifier actually have to be connected to a return duct or can it just pull from atmosphere and pump into a supply plenum?

I could probably use a fan powered humidifier but finding a place for it to live where it can be serviced will be difficult. I have an area of plenum face above the air handler where I could conceivably plug into the supply system.

Is there any type of basic humidifier body available that I can plug into the supply plenum above the air handler and control with my IAQ?

Anyone have real good ideas on this situation that don't involve cutting holes in walls?

Thanks,
Farmer

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Old 07-29-2007, 08:41 AM   #3
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I found the perfect unit for my application but then I realized how much water it would likely consume in doing it. Scratch that idea. I guess we'll just keep on shlepping water to the portable.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:00 PM   #4
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The air from a heat pump isn't hot enough to carry moisture from a humidifier, it would have to be a steam unit to work at all.
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:32 PM   #5
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That's a common misconception. You can prove it to yourself quite easily if you have a variable speed blower. On a warm humid night, use your air conditioning as normal but leave your fan running at 30% ventilate speed and check your humidity in the morning.
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Old 07-31-2007, 06:35 PM   #6
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Take a look at a psycometric chart, cold air can't carry moisture. Running the fan in the manner you are saying doesn't mean the air is carrying the moisture it is evaporating it. Having the fan on before the condenser starts and after is always a good practice. This is why so many heating contractors use hot water for humidifiers. YOU CAN'T FIGHT PHYSICS.
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Old 08-01-2007, 09:18 AM   #7
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You have it right on two counts bigMike. The hottest air carries moisture the best and the coldest air doesn't carry moisture at all. Everything in between is gray area. Warm, cool and cooled air does indeed carry it. Physics is great but how it works in the real world is open to your interpretation and your interpretation isn't all that great. Dry air across a wide range of temperatures can carry moisture.

I guess you've never lived in the desert and used your evaporative cooler to humidify your house in times of mild temperatures. Call it what you want but cool, dry air will pick up moisture and humidify your house.

To offer you another example, last night I did the exact thing I suggested to you above. At 9:45 PM set my ECM blower to run continuously at 30% speed which is around 350 CFM. I also disabled dehumidification functions that come into effect at 50% RH. At the time, the temp was 78 and the humidity was 45%. This was just prior to the system switching programs for the night at 10 PM and going to 82. I got up at 1:30 AM and the temp was 79 and the RH was up to 53%. At that point I reset the blower back to automatic. I checked again just before 4 AM and the next program change which brings temp back down to 78. The temp was still 79 but the humidity was back down to 50%. By 6 AM, the humidity was down to 47% and of course, the temp was 78.

Can you understand what happened here? I'll save you the brainwork and explain it to you. The evap and pan had available moisture. No additional moisture became available because the compressor didn't run after 10 PM. The low cfm fan operation picked up that moisture and also stripped any available moisture in the fiberglass of the duct system and used it to humidify the house by 8 percentage points. When I switched blower function back to auto, humidification ceased and the RH began drifting back down toward it's normal level. The resumption of cooling called for at 4 AM further reduced it. Under normal operation, the humidity level in here never exceeds 50% at night.
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer View Post
Physics is great but how it works in the real world is open to your interpretation and your interpretation isn't all that great. Dry air across a wide range of temperatures can carry moisture.
I guess you've never lived in the desert and used your evaporative cooler to humidify your house in times of mild temperatures. Call it what you want but cool, dry air will pick up moisture and humidify your house.
To offer you another example, last night I did the exact thing I suggested to you above. At 9:45 PM set my ECM blower to run continuously at 30% speed which is around 350 CFM. I also disabled dehumidification functions that come into effect at 50% RH. At the time, the temp was 78 and the humidity was 45%. This was just prior to the system switching programs for the night at 10 PM and going to 82. I got up at 1:30 AM and the temp was 79 and the RH was up to 53%. At that point I reset the blower back to automatic. I checked again just before 4 AM and the next program change which brings temp back down to 78. The temp was still 79 but the humidity was back down to 50%. By 6 AM, the humidity was down to 47% and of course, the temp was 78.

Can you understand what happened here? I'll save you the brainwork and explain it to you. The evap and pan had available moisture. No additional moisture became available because the compressor didn't run after 10 PM. The low cfm fan operation picked up that moisture and also stripped any available moisture in the fiberglass of the duct system and used it to humidify the house by 8 percentage points. When I switched blower function back to auto, humidification ceased and the RH began drifting back down toward it's normal level. The resumption of cooling called for at 4 AM further reduced it. Under normal operation, the humidity level in here never exceeds 50% at night.
All of that in a house @78F-79F proves nothing about humidity during heating season. Stick to Farming if that's what you know and leave HVAC to others.

Last edited by bigMikeB; 08-01-2007 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 08-01-2007, 09:03 PM   #9
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I love customers that THINK they are smarter then a well trained tech............
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyrider View Post
I love customers that THINK they are smarter then a well trained tech............
If they know all the answers why do they waste time asking the questions??? Ever wonder why homeowners don't mind wasting big bucks on a hack repair that wouldn't have cost as much to do right with a little labor in the first place?
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:25 PM   #11
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Dood #3, I was looking for product information, not theory and not advice.

Dood #2, Considering the intelligence level of most tradesmen, being smarter really isn't a stretch. BTW: I am not a customer.

Dood #1, Farmer is my name, not my occupation.

What I love is HVAC techs who think their trade is something akin to rocket surgery. In reality, most are little more than monkeys with a tool pouch.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer View Post
Dood #3, I was looking for product information, not theory and not advice.

Dood #2, Considering the intelligence level of most tradesmen, being smarter really isn't a stretch. BTW: I am not a customer.

Dood #1, Farmer is my name, not my occupation.

What I love is HVAC techs who think their trade is something akin to rocket surgery. In reality, most are little more than monkeys with a tool pouch.

Hmmm, first off if you are on DIYchatroom chances are contractors are going to think you are a consumer/end user not a contractor. Secondly "rocket surgery" , I didn't know they had the biomechanical ones out yet and never figured they would need surgeons for them so soon, couldn't spell "science" I guess. How intelligent do you want people to think you are when you spell DUDE as DOOD? As far as education for HVAC techs, in my union it takes five years of classes to be a journeyman and continuing education to keep up on new technologies. That's why we get paid what we do. I thought you might be good at farming because you don't seem to know ************ about humidification.
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Old 08-04-2007, 09:05 AM   #13
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If I had any amount of respect for you and your opinion I would address you as dude, not dood.

As for humidification, I do know that a cold water aprilaire 700 installed in the supply plenum will humidify my house under the specified conditions. It simply will not do it efficiently or effectively. The fact that it will work has been confirmed by people much more qualified than you. I'm just not willing to deal with the inefficiencies and the potential problems.
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Old 08-04-2007, 05:57 PM   #14
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Hey Mister Farmer. Me and my brother was talking bout your question and we came up with a idee. What if you took a radiator out of junk yard car and pumped some water over it using one of those pumps like you see in the stores that runs water over some rocks. Granny has one (not a radiator silly) and she sez that it relacks her when she is putting salve on her feet. My granny can hardly make it thru the flee market anymore cuz of the corns on her feet. Anyway you cuold put a fan blowin some air thry the radiator and that wood give you som humidty.

And one other thing, I woodnt let them uther fellers get under your skin. They just sound like some good ol boys to me. But jest between you and me i think a cuple of them aint got no since. You know a lettle tuched in the head, 2 briks shy of a load if you know wut i mean. You got to have some edukation to be tellin other peeple wut to do.

Hey if my humidty idee wurks wood you let us know cuz me an my brother want to make some mony on it. But I wus wonderin what in tarnation do you need with more humidty. Its hotter that blue blazes here.

Skeeter sez... Git er done!
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Old 08-04-2007, 11:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer View Post
If I had any amount of respect for you and your opinion I would address you as dude, not dood.

The fact that it will work has been confirmed by people much more qualified than you.
Sounds like you just can't spell to me. So tell me Kreskin, how do you know what someone's qualifications are on here? Do you know us? Is it ESP? You don't have a clue. Maybe harley has a phd. , or I am a PE.

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