Does anyone here have an opinion on the dehumidifying systems from Therma-Stor?
I am interersted in the Santa-Fe units (regular and their new HC model). They seem to pull more moisture than the Aprilaire system.
they have been around longer and are an excellent product..
I have a Thermastor dehumidifier, and if it broke and could not be repaired I would directly buy another. It does a great job of reducing humidity in my house. During the summer the AC does a lot of humidity removal (during the winter our gas heat seems to dry everything out), but during the mild weather in spring and fall the Thermastor does the whole job. I measure electricity costs at about $6/mn in summer, rising to $20-25/mn at the highest.
The Thermastor product line sits in an elite niche where the purchase price is high and the operating cost is low. Its new rival from Aprilaire is considerably cheaper to buy, and if you look at the specs a fair bit more expensive to run -- for many people that tradeoff may be worthwhile, you decide. I believe even a portable unit at $200-300 may prove to lower your humidity, but I predict you will soon be fed up with manually emptying the condensate pail.
Just as a side point on business, it looks to me as if the Thermastor is not really built for mass production. A redesign therefore would bring down production costs and allow it to better compete with Aprilaire and other cheaper products. Ultimately the market will belong to someone who competes on cost, I hope Thermastor can redesign and fend of the cheaper competition to a degree.
Regards -- P.Student
Thanks.. I am considering the ultraaire 150h.
Another option for dehumidification is the AprilAire model. Instead of sensing relative humidity it senses Dew Point.
I guess you have to ask yourself which way of sensing is more constant. Relative Humidity vs. Dew Point.
"Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered"
I ended up with a unit manufactured locally.. installed by a company called Healthaire. SO far it seems to be doing the job however the real test is in the spring/summer here in Atlanta.
Regarding sensing dew point vs. humidity.. if the temperature in the house is relatively constant, it does not matter as a specific dew point will always be associated to a specific humidity. I suppose this would be controlled by the humidistat not the dehumidifying unit itself.
I don't know about thier whole house dehumidifiers, but the Therma-Stor Phoenix 200 and Phoenix 200 Max portable dehumidifiers are the best there are.
We used to do a lot of the in and out of warranty repair work on several brands of the dehumidifiers that the fire and water damage restoration companies in our area use. The Therma-Stor units performed much better than the others. Its just to bad people seem to think its ok to throw them off the back of thier trucks, lol.
Do you find your thermastor unit unduly warms the room around it or is efficient enough so that it doesn't toast the air and then just make your AC kick on to cool the air constantly? Which model do you have? The Kenmore dehumidifer works but it just bakes the room its in! Also do you have a remote sensor or does it do a good job of accurately measuring the humidity around it?
DOE Residntial Dehumidification Research Results
I work for a commercial dehumidification manufacturing plant here in the States, so I follow many of the humidity control threads here. I notice many names over and over again in the humidity control posts. I appreciate the contributions and the knowledge shared.
Tuesday, I ran into a Department of Engergy publication "Residential Dehumidification Systems Research for Hot-Humid Climates"
I ate this up with a spoon-- a big spoon. I'm posting the link for the rest of you to consume.
Living with a Thermastor Santa Fe RX
>>Which model do you have?
Thermastor Santa Fe RX, it has some added sound proofing compared to the straight Santa Fe. It is rated at 86 pints/day which I think is 14 downsized from other models rated at 100 pints/day. Since they draw the same rated amperage, it is my guess they have the same mechanical guts and the extras cause some reduction in capacity.
They claim it is quieted enough to be no worse than a refrigerator in the room. IMO that is hyped a little bit, imagine a pretty loud refrigerator.
>>Do you find your thermastor unit unduly warms the room around it or is efficient enough
>>so that it doesn't toast the air and then just make your AC kick on to cool the air constantly?
Depends on the definition of "unduly". There is a definite warming you can feel, however I have it located in a laundry room where that does not affect the rest of the house noticeably. It is located far from the house thermostat and the AC system is blissfully unaware of it. The laundry room happens to be the most convenient place to locate the condensate drain too. Initially I though only that room would be well dehumidified and the rest of the house would have a mixing problem. What I learned is that the whole house humidity was neatly brought down about 10% RH from where it was otherwise.
Because of the mechanical nature of the thing, every dehumidifier will warm the air in some amount (with the units tied into the central AC ductwork, I think the homeowner will never know). The Thermastor being more energy efficient, *ought* to warm air much less than a less efficient unit. If your Kenmore is rated at similar wattage to the Thermastor, I would estimate the Thermastor would warm air slightly less (and remove much more humidity).
>>Also do you have a remote sensor or does it do a good job of accurately measuring the humidity around it?
The only sensor is built-in, and I would say it offers gross control rather than fine control of humidity. Set at the "normal" point, it cycles on when the RH is above 50% and seems to cycle off around 40%. I think that's a pretty wide swing, but because it's in a small room, there are no big swings in the whole house.
There is a gadget called a "Kill-A-Watt" which I have plugged into this appliance. It tells me the duty cycle is highest in the mild humid months, about 25-30% in my house. That translates to an operating cost around $20/month max. During the summer that duty cycle falls off a lot because the AC is sharing the job. And in winter there basically is no need.
If I had it to do over again, I might invest in the model tied into the central ducting (but IMO you do NOT need 2 dehumidifiers just because you might have 2 AC systems). That would be the natural point to connect a duct for outside fresh air, and have it conditioned before use. But none of the competing brands seems as attractive as Thermastor.
Hope this helps -- P.Student
[Edited by perpetual_student on 08-18-2005 at 09:05 AM]
I have their Sante Fe unit, and in general it does what it's supposed to, keeps the house at 50% +/-5% humidity all the time. Things I don't like about it:
1. If you leave the fan on "continuous" it will cause the unit to cycle MUCH more often (maybe 50%-75% duty cycle, compared to about 10%). This is probably bad for your electric bill. I leave the fan off.
2. I have it ducted to bring in fresh air (about 50cfm). This is the reason for #1, it brings in outdoor humidity so it cycles more. At my house the outdoor air isn't always that "fresh"... very high mold count, very high temperatures, and the occasional skunk walks by. I've tried loading the filters with charcoal as Thermastor suggested, but odors come right through.
3. It does raise the input temp 10-20 degrees, so if I'm bringing in 100 degree outside air, it turns it into 120 degree air (but since it's mixing with 75% indoor air, it's not "that" hot, but VERY warm). I have mine ducted from a laundry room to a room with an A/C return, this tends to balance the heat effect. The raising of the temp. causes the A/C to cycle more, good for humidity removal, bad for EE bill.
Overall, I am more happy with it than unhappy. I don't believe it raises my EE bill more than $10/mo. (because I leave the fan off). I just wish there was an easy way to get to the coils to clean them... I just know cr*p is growing on them.
Tconners, which Santa Fe do you have? I was looking at the Rx and didn't see options for ducting to the outside? Did you do this by splitting one duct to the unit - some from the house and a hole to the outside?
Perp Student, how many sf are you drying with your unit - is it a one floor house or has it had an impact on the floor above/below where the unit is located?