Who uses a dehumidifier in South Africa and why? A dehumidifier extracts excess water from the air and has many uses. Typically dehumidifier use in South Africa tends to fall into these different categories;
- Preventing condensation and mould in winter.
- Protecting boats/caravans/cars/motor homes/holiday homes when not in use
- Removing the sticky feeling from the air during warm, humid, summer months
- Drying properties after a flood or a leak.
- Preventing damage to decoration in indoor swimming pools
- Speeding up production schedules – whether this be for Biltong or homes
- Preventing corrosion on guns and gunsafes
- Preserving wine labels and corks in a wine cellar.
Condensation will form when there is an excess of moisture in the air and this comes into
contact with a cold surface. It is most commonly seen on windows in winter and on a daily basis in bathrooms after a shower. We generate moisture everyday through bathing, showering, boiling food, putting the kettle on, drying washing and breathing (!). In those parts of South Africa that have lower overnight temperatures (Cape Town for example) condensation can form on windows and will need to be mopped up in the mornings. A dehumidifier can reduce or eradicate this condensation.
As well as condensation mould will be a common problem, especially on outside walls and in built in wardrobes. The mould will not only damage room decoration and clothes it will also produce seeds that float in the air and can inhaled. These seeds are more commonly known as mould spores and can induce allergic reactions in many people resulting in asthma attacks or outbreaks of eczema. Mould grows at 68% relative humidity (rh), while condensation forms at 100%rh, so as you see mould can happen even when you have no condensation.
This is why mould and the musty smell that comes with mould will be just as likely in Johannesburg or Durban as it will be in Port Elizabeth or Cape Town. Whereas residents in Cape Town are more likely to suffer from mould in the winter, those in Durban are more likely to see it in the hot, humid, summer months.
Owning a boat or a classic car is an expensive hobby and owners take great pride in their upkeep. Excess moisture can cause metal parts to rust, electronics to fail, maps to degrade, fabrics to smell, leathers to decay and mould to grown in any or all organic materials. If one is living on board the boat then condensation will be a constant battle. A dehumidifier can solve these issues easily and will protect your boat or car when not in use.
Caravans, motorhomes and holiday homes can suffer similar fates, once again the solution is a dehumidifier and the features that you should look for are common across all of these applications. When looking for a dehumidifier to protect your asset you should demand the following;
- Ability to drain the water away continuously (because you will not be there to empty the container)
- Automatic restart after a power cut (because you will not be there to turn it back on)
- Restart in the mode that you want it to run in and not some factory preset
- A good humidistat to prevent over drying (and excessive use of electricity)
- A dehumidifier that switches off when the relative humidity is reached to minimise electricity consumption.
- A dehumidifier that works efficiently at lower temperatures (as these applications are most common in the winter, cold for a dehumidifier is anything below 15°C)
- A system to check the relative humidity of the air periodically to ensure that the dehumidifier does not miss increases in moisture.
Not many dehumidifiers have this unique combination of features. The Meaco DD8L Junior was designed to tick each one of these boxes and is used extensively in these applications.
In summer there is nothing worse than the sticky feeling that comes with warm, humid weather. It makes your clothes stick to you and leaves you feeling very uncomfortable. A dehumidifier removes this excess water from the air and makes the summer more bearable. The Meaco 10L and the Meaco 20L are the correct dehumidifiers for this type of application. The Meaco 20L has a larger extraction capacity and should be used in larger rooms or where the climate is more humid.
A flood or a leak can be very depressing and the home owner will want things to return to
normal as soon as possible. In South Africa, with it’s all year round warm temperatures it is tempting just to leave buildings to dry naturally. But this does nothing to reduce the moisture content of the water logged structure. If the home is left to dry without the help of a dehumidifier then the drying time will be increased, the risk of mould growth and mould spores is increased and the room will not be available for normal use for an extended period of time and it could also become a health hazard. Higher capacity dehumidifiers like the Meaco 30L and the Meaco 40L should be used to speed up the drying time and the reduce the relative humidity to safe levels to prevent mould growth.
Many people are lucy enough to have a wine cellar and South Africa certainly produces many fine wines that are worth storing and drinking. But high relative humidity can damage the labels and corks and a dehumidifier is required to preserve them. For this application a compressor dehumidifier is best and the correct model for a very small store would be a Meaco 10L, for anything over 80 cubic metres then the Meaco 20L would be best. The reason why compressor is best is because the desiccant dehumidifiers add heat to the air and you do not want to warm the air up in a winde cellar.
It is lovely to be able to have an indoor swimming pool but having a large pool of warm water indoors does also mean that the structure of the building and the decoration is in danger unless you take action to control the evaporation rate from the pool. Whether the swimming pool is in a private health club or a private home the requirements are the same. The air temperature should be 2°C higher than the water temperatures. So for a typical leisure pool running at 28°C the air temperature should be 30°C. A cover should be used to prevent evaporation from the surface of the water when it is not in use. Even if you do follow these guidelines a typical 10m x 5 pool will still loss 60 litres of water per day, 420 litres of water per week. That amount of water will settle on cold surfaces and condensation and mould will soon be a serious problem.
Unfortunately you cannot use any old dehumidifier to control the excess moisture from the pool. It must be a dehumidifier that has extra low voltage controls to minimise the risk of electric shock, it must have specially coated controls and coils to protect from the chemicals that are used in the pool water and it should be wall or through wall mounted to help keep it at least 2.5m away from the surface of the water to again minimise the risk of electric shock.
Meaco manufacture a special range of swimming pool dehumidifiers that meet all of these requirements and can also be connected to a gas boiler to heat the pool room air to help provide and additional source of heat as well as dehumidification. If you need help sizing a dehumidifier then call Simon Brewer at Kovdor Trading with the surface area of the water, the water temperature, the air temperature and whether you se a cover or not and then Simon will be able to guide you to the best swimming pool dehumidifier to protect your pool hall.
Heat is often used in production to speed up drying processes, this is an expensive way of drying something and can lead to damage to the actual product itself. A dehumidifier is far more cost effective because it draws moisture from a product quickly but without the side effects of heating. A dehumidifier is also far more energy efficient using a heat pump cycle to reuse it’s energy as part of the process. By calculating the amount of moisture that needs to be taken from a product we can help you size an appropriate dehumidifier for the application.
Biltong drying is one such application. Using heat can damage the flesh, using a dehumidifier can speed the process up naturally and increase productivity.