Water is the universal solvent and oxygen is the ultimate corrosive. The two in combination as moist air will destroy whatever they come in contact with, given sufficient time. Since the dawn of the Iron Age, mankind has been locked in a battle with air and water and its destructive effects on technology.
For centuries, the only preventive measures available were applied directly to the item needing protection. Paints, sealants, metallic plating and other coatings provided a resistant barrier from the effects of rusting – oxidation – and dissolving from water and water-borne corrosives.
Today’s technology enables specifically engineered machinery to extract the harmful corrosive compounds and elements from the air. In some cases, air is removed entirely, replacing the oxygen-rich gases with pure elements. An example is replacing the air in automotive tires with nitrogen, or using argon to protect delicate – and expensive – wines from the effects of oxidation.
For larger applications, larger solutions have been developed. It is possible to virtually remove all air-borne water content – known generically as humidity – from entire rooms and buildings. For most tasks, dehumidifiers are scaled to match the degree of protection required. In some cases, protective enclosures are custom-fitted to the device, which solves several related issues, such as exposure to sunlight and UV rays, the local atmosphere as well as weather, and air-borne dust, insects, and other harmful or potentially dangerous threats.
The two most common approaches to dehumidification involve drying the air with chemicals – desiccants – or using heat to evaporate the water. Both technologies have advantages and disadvantages. The best dehumidifiers use both methods to achieve optimal drying.
Chemical drying is far more energy efficient than generating heat, but requires the chemicals to be replaced or retreated periodically as they become saturated. Using a heat source to remove extracted water from air scrubbing enables a longer service life from chemical desiccants. The best approach is to use the least amount of energy that is generating the heat to optimize the water extraction ability of the chemicals. Heat pumps and similar technology can serve multiple purposes, using the heat that is normally considered a waste by-product and redirecting it to the productive task of drying.
Bry-Air has a number of models of dehumidifiers in a range of physical sizes and air-scrubbing throughput. Whether the need is static dehumidification – as in long-term storage containers with limited or no air circulation – or dynamic moisture removal; for example, when the environment requires air for people to breathe, Bry-Air has the solution.