Humidification systems

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    • #132761

      Has anyone used  or heard about Neptronic’s SKR 40 humidifiers? We’re looking into using them to help correct the dryness in our museum.

      We don’t have any ducting so we’re thinking of using the fan distribution system (http://www.neptronic.com/Humidifiers/PDF/SKR/SKR_Brochure.pdf). My primary concern is what pollutants might come with the steam this device produces. I’ve read before that some similar systems have been known to produce gasses that are fine for humans but dangerous for objects. Obviously I don’t want that to happen, and I’d really appreciate any advice or information any of you could offer. Thanks!

    • #132768
      Richard Kerschner
      Participant

      This is simply a steam humidifier similar to those used in museums. It will use a lot of electricity to boil the water to create steam, but steam is the best way to add moisture to your hot air system. If you do not have a ducted hot air system, it will blow steam directly into the room. I am not familiar with this company, but similar units are made by DriSteam and Nortec. We like the Nortec models that have the plastic container that you throw away once a year or so. If your water is at all hard, all the minerals will be left behind and you will have to clean out this stainless steel cylinder. It is much easier to discard Nortec’s plastic container of minerals once a year and replace it with a new container. The Nortec models last longer because they do not have to deal with the mineral buildup.

      Ultrasonic humidifiers or cool mist humidifiers can introduce a fine white mineral powder into the air which can settle on artifacts unless distilled water is used. Steam humidifiers will leave the minerals behind in the cylinder.

       

    • #132767

      I’ve tried boiling water systems and they use a lot of electricity.  Primarily because as the humidity starts to drop, they come on to keep the water warm in case you need the humidity.  I spent a lot of money warming water.  Just switched to DriSteem which also uses a throw away cylinder.  Instead of heating the water, it uses electrodes to drive current through the water which instantly boils the water.  This is a very energy efficient system.  I have two three gallon units and they can raise the humidity 5% in less than an hour, in a 20,000 sqft building.

    • #132766

      In the UK it is still common to see ultrasonic or evaporative humidifiers which provide room temperature moist air rather than steam. They require filter maintenance, but use less electricity to run and do not change air temperature as much.

    • #132765

      Before you decide on a system, you should make sure that the results will help your collections.  For many kinds of objects, a steady relative humidity is much better than constantly changing one, and it can be difficult to provide steady levels even with a ducted system.

      Another problem is that if your building envelope is not very tight, much of the effort will be in vain – the humidified air will leak out.

      In addition, some of the literature is inaccurate in recommending RH levels.  For example, low levels (around 35%) have now been shown to be better for archival materials.

      Have you had a conservator who is expert about museum environments look at your collections?

    • #132764

      This is such great input! Thank you everyone.

      I was concerned about the cost of running the humidifiers, so it’s really great to hear all of your experiences. I’ll definitely look into the other system you all have used and share this information with my committee.

      We went through our CAP this last year, and the conservator did say that this is something that we need to address. My museum gets very dry, and experiences some pretty bad fluctuations. The humidity is one way we’re addressing the environment. You’re right about the air leaks, too. That was another thing that came from our CAP that we’re addressing.

      Thank you all again for your help! Please feel free to keep the info coming.

    • #132763

      I forgot to ask, what models of DriSteem and Nortec do you use/recommend? Of course everyone’s situation is different and there’s no saying your system is exactly what I need, but it would still be helpful information for me to have.

      Thanks again

    • #132762
      Richard Kerschner
      Participant

      You need to contact your local DriSteem or Nortec distributor for assistance with selecting the proper model and unit. It all depends on how much moisture you need to add to your space and this will be determined by the size and configuration of the space, the tightness of the building, the nature of the artifacts you are protecting, and the set points you are attempting to maintain. A conservator can work with your facilities manager to address these issues.  If you only need a small amount of humidity in one room, a stand-alone cool- mist humidifier using distilled water may be sufficient. However, such units do not deliver much humidity int0 the air. If you need more than several liters a day, you will probably need to have a steam humidifier installed. The model will depend on the amount of steam you need to produce for the space during the driest days of the year.

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