Design Enhancements Provide Promising Results for Residential Gas-Fired Desiccant Dehumidifier

Des Plaines, IL

Utilization Technology Development (UTD) has sponsored the re-design of a light-weight, cost-effective gas-fired desiccant dehumidifier for the residential market. The unit, commercially available from NovelAire® Technologies, is capable of providing whole-house dehumidification, ensuring a comfortable environment year round.

Called the ComfortDry™ 400, the unit is a more contractor- and service-friendly version of its predecessor, the DD 400-G, due to cost, size and weight-reduction enhancements identified and designed in a cooperative effort between Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and NovelAire Technologies.

In addition to being capable of accurately maintaining indoor humidity levels in the desirable range for comfort, the compact, quiet unit will also help the homeowner avoid conditions that may be conducive to mold growth and dust mites in the home. This is important, particularly in high humidity regions of the country where air conditioning alone can have difficulty in maintaining these desirable levels.

"UTD funded this technology enhancement project because it sees great opportunities for whole-house dehumidification for the residential market," says Ron Snedic, President of UTD. "NovelAire’s experience integrating desiccant components into HVAC systems, coupled with GTI’s history of desiccant technology expertise, are helping clear some hurdles to successful market penetration for a gas-fired residential product."

The gas-fired desiccant dehumidifier provides comfort and improved indoor air quality through the control of humidity independently from the central cooling system. The ComfortDry 400 can be installed in conjunction with a central air conditioning system utilizing the common duct work, or it can operate in stand-alone mode with its own return and supply registers. It also has the capability to provide zone dehumidification in particularly problematic areas such as a non-space-conditioned, glassed-in indoor pool, where excessive condensation can occur during cold weather months.

"Based on GTI’s recommendations, we’ve eliminated 70 pounds from the dehumidifier and reduced its total size by approximately 33 percent," says Scott Janke, Vice President, NovelAire. "This has helped us lower the unit’s cost by 35 percent, which will make it more attractive to both homeowners and installers."

Janke adds, "The reduced weight and size of the unit has the potential to change what once was typically a three-person installation into either a two-person, or in some cases, a one-person job."

Performance testing of the ComfortDry 400 was conducted with favorable results at NovelAire, has met the requirements of prescribed product safety standards, and is now Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL) Listed. Residential and commercial sites have been chosen, and performance evaluation will commence in October 2007

About Utilization Technology Development (UTD)
UTD is a not-for-profit, utility-controlled program with a mission to identify, select, fund, and oversee research projects resulting in innovative solutions that expand the use, cost effectiveness, and efficiency of gas utilization equipment. UTD helps utilities and their customers adopt new technologies that reduce costs, save energy, enable efficient fuel choices, further integrate natural gas with renewable energy resources, and achieve superior environmental performance. UTD is one of ten industry collaboratives led by GTI Energy.

About NovelAire Technologies
NovelAire Technologies is an innovative indoor air quality solutions provider to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) serving the residential, commercial and industrial markets of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning industry.

About GTI
GTI is the leading research, development, and training organization serving the natural gas and energy industry. For more than 65 years, GTI has been meeting the nation's energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry and government.