Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Something to Help Control Humidity

I just posted that the biggest problem with your A/C system is probably that it doesn't control humidity well. We will get back to HVAC in some future posts, but a sort of offshoot topic from the last post would be "how can I reduce the amount of humidity that my A/C system needs to remove?"

Many of the sources of humidity aren't going anywhere. You are major source through respiration and perspiration, cooking dinner, washing dishes, etc. are also major sources. Nobody is going to stop doing those things. Finally there is showering. Obviously (I hope) nobody is going to stop showering in the name of reducing indoor humidity levels, and you probably even realize that your bathroom has an exhaust fan in it, as required by building code. One of the two reasons bathroom fans exist is to exhaust moisture, but my experience is that people don't tend to use their fans as much as they should. One reason is that the fans tend to be pretty cheap and are installed "just well enough to meet code", but that's a subject for another day. The second big reason is that there's nobody to come in behind us and shut the fan off.

We considered several options for our new home, and ended up installing a Lutron MA-T530G Maestro eco-timer switch for each fan:

The switches we selected from Lutron fit into a "decora" style switch plate and allow you to easily select a run time for the fan. Each time you press the panel, the fan will come on for the last selected run time, so for instance, in our master bath, I can walk in in the morning, hit the switch, and the fan will come on for the next 20 minutes, allowing me to shower and allowing time for the fan to run after I shower. In our powder room, where humidity removal isn't the purpose, you can run the fan and then easily select an amount of time for the fan to run after you exit.

Besides the obvious ability to set the timer, the LED's on the side show how much time is remaining as the timer counts down and, when it hits the one minute mark, there is a slight pause to let you know that the fan is about to turn off.  It's definitely a nice product that works well for the purpose that we intended, and it would be easy enough to retrofit into any bathroom.  We put them in all of ours.

Products referenced in this post:

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