Author Topic: Wild idea for humidity control  (Read 3497 times)

Offline TomW

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Wild idea for humidity control
« on: January 25, 2009, 06:10:04 PM »
Today we just bought a small used upright freezer to use as a cave. I am fully aware that I need to buy a temperature controller for it to maintain set temperatures in the 45-55 degree range. That is a known solution. The big question, of course, is how to maintain the proper humidity.
I have an idea that I have not yet tried, but I would like to put out there to see if people think it might work--in other words, please feel free to shoot holes in this if you think there is something I'm missing:

You can get a small children's room humidifier for aroud $40 to $60. What if, in addition to the temperature control, I were to put one of these in the bottom of the freezer with a cord routed to a switch on the outside? Of course, I would also need a hygrometer that has a sensor on a wire that could go inside the freezer and enable me to read the humidity from the outside without opening the door.

Just turning on the humidifier long enough to bring the humidity to the right level and then shutting it off might do the trick. Since the humidifier generates heat to disperse the water vapor, the temperature control would sense that and automaticaly turn on to compensate and keep the temperature at the preset level. That should leave the right saturation of water vaopr in the air to last until someone opens the door or at least a good while when I would be checking the reading and briefly turn on the humidifier again to maintain the right humidity.

If I can find the right hygrometer, it should be possible to put something like this together for under $200.  What do people think? I'm willing to give it a try if I don't hear any reasons that it won't work. I will of course report back on results.


Offline John (CH)

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2009, 09:36:56 PM »
TomW

So the humidifier would be on a manual switch or timer for you to turn on?

I bought a small chest freezer and internal-external thermostat, keeps temp great but I got steady build up of humidity to 100% and then puddles on bottom. Too much humidity, no drain in bottom so I understand why it can't escape, lid seals so I can;t understand how humidity can build up.

Will your upright freezer be the same style and have the same problem?

Another cheap solution to adding humidity is a towel draped out of a bowl of water as a wick, large surface area. Might be worth trying that first until you see if your problem like mine was too much humidity.

All that said, bundy's upright freezer seems to work great.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2009, 04:30:04 PM »
Tom, I've been building humidity contronlled environment for years, this would work but it's too much work. Plus you don't want a humidifier that uses heat, those are called warm mist, the evaporative ones are called cool mist and don't use heat, then there are the new fangled ones that use ultrasonic, but most ultrasonic models don't have digital set points and the ones that do are $200 and don't go to a very high humidity.

You could buy a humidistat but they cost about $150. What I did years ago was find a digital humidifier that goes real high, if you can find a Hamilton Beach model 05519, they have a digital read out and digital set point and can up to 90% RH.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 07:55:33 PM »
Tom the internet has failed me!! I've done extensive research before years before and a few months ago on humidistats. I told you the only one I could find was $150. I was just down at one of my industrial suppliers and they have them pretty cheap and very user friendly. I'm 99% sure I checked their website originally because I always do. And it's not a new item, I must of had slective vision. Anyway it's user friendly because it already has a built in plug for a humidity device and then the gauge goes into the wall goes from 30-90 and it's only $50. If you need one let me know and I'll have one shipped to you unless you find it somewhere else as you need an account to buy from them. Here is a link http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/1UHG3

The good part is now you can use an ultrasonic humidifier which starts to put water in the air right away instead of the slow rate of a evaporative humidifier. I'm defintaly going this way. It looks as though it has a digital read out buy not sure.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline TomW

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 09:11:59 PM »
That looks like the way to go. I'd have to change my assumption in that you need to bring 120V into the freezer to a socket that this plugs into and then it is mounted inside with the humidfier plugged into its outlet. That would work. I could still use my combination thermostat/hygrometer to read the temp and relative humidity from the outside.
I have bookmarked this one and will probably order it. Can you recommedn a good (cheap) humidifier of the  sonic variety. I'm going to go a-hunting later this evening and see what I can find. It looks like we're on the trail of a solution!

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 09:16:15 PM »
No, but from what I've read the ultrasonic variety, no matter the manufacturer are a little touchy and can break right away or not work. Saying that I would still use it as it will produce fog right away, but I would buy from a large chain store where it will be easy to return or exchange, such as Target or Walmart or Kmart. Make sure you get one that can stay on all the time at it's highest setting, you might have to buy on test it out and then return if it doesn't stay on or say so on the box, because you want the humidistat to control it.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline TomW

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2009, 09:39:11 PM »
I've just looked at a few ultrasonic humidifiers online (home Depot, Target, QVC). It's hard to judge quality, but some appear to have timers built into them and one has an "out of water" alarm. The claims are things like, "runs 122 hours on a fill" or "10 hours." But that assumes they are being used to humidify a room and not a sealed freezer. Also, I would assume that "always on and controlled by the humidistat" could be achieved by opening one up and shorting across the timer. In any event, you would need to periodically check the water level. The prices aren't that bad, I would just want to use one in its pristine state to make sure it is relieable before I go in and do any tinkering.

Offline valereee

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2009, 07:58:13 AM »
For humidity, what I've been using is a personal fan aimed at a pan of water.  I kind of like it in that it keeps the air moving inside the fridge during cold periods when fridge is turned off.  I figure the air movement ought to help with the mold.  I think the fan probably also helps this time of year because while the fridge is now hooked up to the thermostat (rather than the heating pad being hooked up, which is what I was doing when it was really cold) but while it's slightly below 55 outside, the fan motors helps raise the temp slightly inside the fridge.

I'm thinking maybe I could plug the fan into this hydrostat, unless someone thinks this personal fan/pan of water idea is a bad one?

My cheese cave is starting to feel a bit Rube Goldberg.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2009, 12:04:35 PM »
Val, what ever works. What you did was build a humidifier, most humidifiers are just that a fan blowing on water. The only difference is the water has a wick to create more surface area.
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Offline MooMaid

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2009, 05:24:23 AM »
Greetings all, Well this is kinda nerve-wracking for me but here goes.  I'm making cheese(camembert) in my home fridge but I have a small whirlpool chest freezer that I'm working on setting up. I've uploaded a pix, I'm hoping it shows up. The freezer stays waaay too cold even on the lowest setting. How do I adjust the thermostat or can I just replace the thermostat with a fridgerator thermostat? Then I want to install a little fan, like the one that is in my convection toaster oven. (Maybe a cpu fan?) It looks like (from the photo of the freezer) that I can thread the plug thru the drain plug or to install the fan on the inside do I need to drill a small hole and thread the cord thru through to the outside? I want to put a pan of water on the bottom of the fridge and have the fan circulate the moist air to keep the humidity up. I've probably thought way too much way too early in the am here. Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks
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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2009, 05:39:26 AM »
MooMaid

Good question and great idea, as the saying goes, great minds think alike! A couple Members here have already tried using a small chest freezer, DaggerDoggie and myself. We both used an external thermostat to override the freezers thermostat and enable higher temp required in Cheese Cave and both had the same problem of steady buildup to 100% humidity and moisture puddling at bottom of freezer. My records here. Even with fan to circ air internally on unit it is still sealed and humidity builds up. I eventually gave up and just sold it on Craigslist. Thus I suspect you would have the same problem, sorry, not trying to be negative.

Also, Carter has had similar problem with vertical style freezer plus condensation dripping off of the horizontal coils onto his cheeses.

I'm going to go with an old forced air (fan style) fridge and the same external thermostat and for humidity just put cheeses in cracked plastic containers.

Offline MooMaid

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2009, 12:01:43 PM »
Hmmm. Can't see me quitting this idea. Not with a free chest freezer that I've been hanging on to just for this. So would mounting a dehumidifier in the freezer not work? Another question-what is in the sides of a freezer? Coils? On all sides??



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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2009, 12:30:07 PM »
I am giving up on mine as well.
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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2009, 01:44:32 PM »
MooMaid

I'm pretty sure that their coils around all 4 sides as that's where the condensation was that I tried rubbing off daily with towel to reduce humidity. But I think not in the lid.

De-humidifier could work . . . another idea that I didn't try was a bucket of road salt to try and act as a desicant and pull the excess water out of the air . . . the external thermostat I bought was about USD65 with shipping . . . John.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Wild idea for humidity control
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2009, 06:42:04 PM »
Has anyone tried taping cloth to the sides to wick away the moisture that builds up?