Title:
Automatic humidity control
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An automatic humidity control assembly for control of humidity and the prevention of mold in an enclosed structure. The automatic humidity control assembly defined by two air passageways, one air passageway recirculating interior air, the second passageway drawing ambient air into the automatic humidity control assembly, each passageway having associated therewith a filtration means, a heat exchanger, a cooling coil, and a blower means, there being a temperature/humidity sensing means within the enclosed structure associated with the first air passageway and a temperature humidity sensing means proximate the ambient atmosphere associated with the second air passageway. In one mode of operation, interior air is circulated through the automatic humidity control assembly to remove humidity and return conditioned air to the building. In another mode of operation, dependant upon climatic air conditions, ambient air is introduced into the second passageway of the humidity control assembly. The ambient air being conditioned and the conditioned ambient air is introduced into the enclosed structure.



Inventors:
Cressy, Charles S. (Jackson, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/940488
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
09/15/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25D17/04; F25B49/00
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Primary Examiner:
ABDUR RAHIM, AZIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Clifford, Frayne G. (Suite 7A, 136 Drum Point Road, Brick, NJ, 08723, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. An automatic humidity control assembly for the control of humidity and the prevention of mold development within an enclosed structure, the humidity control assembly comprising: first air passageway comprising a first air filtration means, a heat exchanger, a cooling coil and a blower means, said first air passage having a first conduit means for the introduction of air from an interior of an enclosed structure to the humidity control assembly, a second conduit means for return of conditioned air to said interior of said enclosed structure; a second air passageway having a filtration means, a heat exchanger, and a cooling coil, and a blower means, said second air passageway having a first conduit means for the introduction of exterior ambient air to said humidity control assembly and a second conduit means in communication with said interior of said enclosed structure for the introduction of conditioned ambient air; a first sensing means positioned within said enclosed structure for the sensing of temperature and humidity, said first sensor means in communication with said cooling coil and blower means in said first air passageway of said humidity control assembly for activation thereof for commencement of the passage of interior air through said first passageway; a second enthalpy sensing means positioned in said first conduit means of said second air passageway of said humidity control assembly, proximate said ambient air for sensing the temperature and humidity of said ambient air, said second sensing means in communication with said heat exchanger, cooling coil and blower means in said second air passageway for activation thereof.

2. The humidity control assembly in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first air passageway recycles interior air within said enclosed structure to maintain desired humidity when said ambient atmospheric air temperature and humidity is inappropriate for introduction into said enclosed structure.

3. The humidity control assembly in accordance with claim 1 wherein said second air passageway conditions ambient air when said temperature and said humidity of said ambient air is appropriate for introduction into said enclosed structure, said conditioned ambient air introduced into said interior of said enclosed structure and a equal quantity of interior stale air is exhausted to said ambient air through said second conduit means of said second air passageway.

4. The humidity control assembly in accordance with claim 3 wherein said heat exchanger is a passive crossover heat exchanger allowing conditioned fresh atmospheric air to be introduced into said interior of said enclosed structure and an equal portion of stale interior air to be exhausted to said ambient atmosphere.

5. The humidity control assembly in accordance with claim 1 wherein said second enthalpy sensing means positioned in said first conduits of said second passageway sensing appropriate ambient air conditions activates aid heat exchanger and said blower in said second passageway and a damper in said first conduit means in said first passageway halting the recycling and conditioning of interior air and allowing the introduction of conditioned ambient air into said enclosed structure.

6. The humidity control assembly in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first conduit means and said second conduit means on said first air passageway extend within said enclosed structure and have a plurality of vents formed therein, said first conduit on said first air passageway serving as a return of interior air to said humidity control assembly; said second conduit of said first air passageway serving as a distributor of conditioned air to said interior of said enclosed structure.

7. The humidity control assembly in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first conduit means and said second conduit means of said first air passageway are secured to a return conduit of a heating and ventilation unit within said enclosed structure so as to bleed off a portion of the interior air being returned to the heating and air conditioning unit within said interior structure, condition said air and reintroduce it into said return duct work.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to humidity control assemblies, and in particular, to an automatic humidity control assembly having particular use in humid climates, particularly for enclosed unoccupied buildings for reducing and/or preventing the development of mold.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In hot, humid climates there is a great tendency for mold to develop. A key factor in the development of mold is not so much the temperature, but the humidity. In hot dry climates such as Arizona, mold is much less of a problem than it is in the gulf states of the United States where the humidity is much greater, and is combined with relatively high temperature.

Residents and businesses in these high heat, high humidity areas normally control mold by dehumidifying the air within the building, mostly commonly through the use of air conditioning. This procedure is normally satisfactory to the resident or the business because the resident or the business occupies the facility on a full time basis. However, it is becoming increasingly more common for people to own a second home in the form of a vacation home which is not occupied on a full time basis and may be located in one of these hot and humid climatic areas. Their only choice in order to control the growth of mold is to run their air conditioning unit when they are not occupying the house. This results in a high amount of energy consumption and higher energy bills. Applicant's humidity control assembly connects with the heating and air conditioning duct work and automatically controls the humidity within the building at a desired percentage and would eliminate the need for the continuous running of the air conditioning.

Applicant's humidity control assembly would also have application in those buildings which were occupied full time and in which the owner or the resident wished to reduce energy costs.

Applicant's humidity control assembly, in addition to reducing and controlling the humidity within the building to prevent the development of mold, would also provide under the correct climatic conditions, the replacement of stale air within the building with fresh ambient air which would be preconditioned before being introduced into the building.

Applicant's assembly would serve to control the humidity in unoccupied dwellings in hot, humid climates to prevent the development of mold. While the unit is primarily developed for homes and businesses in hot, humid tropical climates which are unoccupied for a portion of the year, the unit could also have application to homes in general, rental homes, finished basements, storage spaces, and in particular, record storage spaces in which documents are stored.

Still further, the unit can operate as a stand alone unit or can be incorporated into the heating and air conditioning unit for the home or business and can generate significant energy savings.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide for a novel humidity control assembly which will automatically sense and control the humidity within an enclosed structure.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel humidity assembly which can sense and control the humidity in an enclosed structure located in a hot and humid climate.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel humidity assembly which will greatly reduce energy consumption.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel stand alone humidity control assembly utilizing enthalpy intake control.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel humidity control assembly which can be incorporated into an existing heating and air conditioning system.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel humidity control assembly which in controlling the humidity within a building will also have the capability of controlling and decreasing the likelihood of the development of mold within the building.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel humidity control assembly which will also serve under desired climatic conditions, to introduce fresh ambient air into the building, the ambient air being preconditioned with the humidity control assembly causing an equal amount of stale interior air to be vented to the ambient air.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An automatic humidity control assembly for control of humidity and the prevention of mold in an enclosed structure. The automatic humidity control assembly defined by two air passageways, one air passageway recirculating interior air, the second passageway drawing ambient air into the automatic humidity control assembly, each passageway having associated therewith a filtration means, a heat exchanger, a cooling coil, and a blower means, there being a temperature/humidity sensing means within the enclosed structure associated with the first air passageway and a temperature humidity sensing means proximate the ambient atmosphere associated with the second air passageway. In one mode of operation, interior air is circulated through the automatic humidity control assembly to remove humidity and return conditioned air to the building. In another mode of operation, dependent upon climatic air conditions, ambient air is introduced into the second passageway of the humidity control assembly. The ambient air being conditioned and the conditioned ambient air is introduced into the enclosed structure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other objects of the present invention will become evident particularly when taken in light of the following illustrations wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the humidity control assembly;

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of the humidity control assembly installed in cooperation with a standard heating and air conditioning unit for the building; and

FIG. 3 is a schematic of a stand alone version of the humidity control assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram of the humidity control assembly 10 of the present invention. The unit consists of a double hepafilter arrangement 12 on the intake side of the humidity control assembly 10 in communication with a double heat exchanger 14. From the heat exchanger 14, the air passing through is directed to a double cooling coil 16 with appropriate drain conduits 17 for the removal of condensed moisture on the outlet side 18 of the humidity control apparatus 10. The filters, heat exchanger, cooling coil and blower are arranged in parallel defining a first and a second passageway, one for conditioning of interior air, one for conditioning ambient air.

On the inlet side 20 of the humidity control assembly 10, conduit duct work 22 feeds air into the assembly from the enclosed structure, there being a damper 21 positioned in duct work 22. Also in communication with the inlet side 20 of the humidity control assembly 10 is conduit duct work 24 which is capable of drawing outside air into the assembly. This outside air is controlled automatically by a damper means 26 and an enthalpy sensing means 28 so that the introduction of outside air is only permitted when the ambient qualities of the outside air are such that it is low humidity air. On the outlet side of the humidity control assembly 10 is a conduit duct work 30 which returns recycled low humidity air to the building or conditioned ambient air. A second conduit duct work 32 on the outlet side of the humidity control assembly 10 allows for the exhaust of stale interior air to the exterior of the building. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, blower means 34 and 35 are positioned on the outlet side 18 of the humidity control assembly 10 in the conduits 30 and 32.

The controls required for the humidity control assembly 10 would include a humidity and temperature sensor 40 within the enclosed structure, together with relay means to activate the blower means 34 in conduit duct work 30 which returns recycled, conditioned air to the building. A similar temperature humidity sensor 28 would be associated with the conduit duct work 24 which would draw ambient air into the humidity control assembly 10 when the ambient conditions were appropriate and also control damper 21. The respective sensing means would also automatically activate the cooling coil 16 in first and second passageways.

The humidity control assembly 10 of the present invention defines two air passageways. Conduit duct work 22, with hepafilter 12, heat exchanger 24, cooling coil 16, blower 34, and conduit duct work 30 defines a first passageway for the recirculation of interior air. Conduit duct work 24, hepafilter arrangement 12, heat exchanger 14, cooling coil 16, and blower 35 define a second passageway for ambient air. As described hereafter, when the climatic conditions for the ambient air are appropriate for use within the enclosed structure, the blower means 35 in the second air passageway is activated. Either the heat exchanger 14 or immediately after the heat exchanger 14 between the heat exchanger 14 and cooling coil 16, there would be a cross over dampening means which would allow the humidity control assembly 10 to vent stale air from the enclosed structure via second conduit duct work 32, such stale air being vented to the exterior of the enclosed building. The fresh atmospheric air drawn in by means of conduit duct work 24 is then directed to conduit duct work 30 after conditioning and introduced into the enclosed structure. The operation of the blowers 34 and 35 would control the volumetric quantity of air substitution where in most operating instances, it would be an equal substitution of interior stale air for fresh conditioned atmospheric air. Alternatively, exterior enthalpy sensing means 28 sensing appropriate conditions for the introduction of ambient air would energize blower 35 and close damper 21 such that conditioned ambient air would be introduced into the structure with no venting of interior air.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of the humidity control assembly 10 of the present invention incorporated with a standard heating and air conditioning unit 50 associated with a home or business. The typical heating and air conditioning unit 50 which provides centralized heating and air conditioning comprises a furnace unit 52 having a blower unit 54 positioned therein. Above the furnace unit 52 would be located a cooling coil 56 for use when the air conditioning mode was in use. Conduit duct work 58 would extend from the heating and air conditioning unit 50 through the home or business having a plurality of vents 60 for the distribution of heated air or air conditioned air within the building.

Located at strategic locations within the home or building would be a plurality of return vents in communication with return conduit duct work 62 which return conduit duct work returns air from the home or business to the furnace 52 by means of the blower means 54.

Applicant's humidity control assembly 10 would be positioned adjacent the return conduit duct work 62 proximate the furnace 52. Conduit 22 of Applicant's humidity control assembly 10 would be in communication with the return conduit duct work 62 of the heating and air conditioning assembly 50. Applicant's conduit 30 would be in communication with the return conduit duct work 62 downstream from conduit duct work 22. Conduit 24 of the humidity control assembly 10 would be in communication with the ambient atmosphere as would exhaust conduit 32.

In this configuration, the humidity control assembly 10 has the ability to bleed off a portion of the air returning to the heating and air conditioning unit 50 via return conduit duct work 62 and to condition this air through the humidity control assembly 10 before reintroducing the air via conduit 30 into return conduit duct work 62 for recycle through the heating and air conditioning unit 50 and into the house or business. The blower 34 and the cooling coil 16 of the humidity control assembly 10 would be activated by the temperature humidity sensor 40 located within the enclosed structure.

When the ambient climatic conditions are appropriate as judged by temperature humidity sensor 28 associated with conduit 24, blower 34 would be activated to draw outside ambient air into the humidity control assembly 10. This fresh air being introduced by conduit 24 would be conditioned in the humidity control assembly 10 and directed to conduit 30 for introduction into the return conduit duct work 62 for subsequent introduction into the house or building. The air drawn from return conduit ductwork 62 via conduit 22 would be used to condition the climatic ambient air being introduced into the humidity control unit via conduit 24 and then the stale air from the house or building would be exhausted via conduit 32 to the ambient atmosphere. In this operation, a portion of the interior, stale air being returned to the heating and air conditioning unit 50 via return conduit duct work 62 is drawn off via conduit 22, utilized to condition the incoming ambient air via conduit 24 and then the interior stale air is exhausted to the ambient atmosphere with fresh air being mixed with a portion of the air returning in the return conduit duct work 62.

This allows for the home owner or business owner to control the humidity within the building without having constantly to run the air conditioning portion 56 of the heating and air conditioning unit 50. In controlling the humidity, the user also controls or eliminates the development of mold within the building. Still further, when climatic conditions are appropriate, the humidity control unit controls and eliminates the development of stale air within the building by insuring that a portion of the stale air is removed from circulation and replaced by the fresh air conditioned in the humidity control unit.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating the humidity control assembly 10 of the present invention installed in cooperation with a standard heating and air conditioning unit. The humidity control assembly 10 of the present invention can also function as a stand alone unit in particular applications. For instance, a musty basement which is not normally heated, or a document storage facility which is not normally heated or air conditioned, but must preserve the documents stored therein, could utilize the humidity control assembly 10 as a stand alone unit to control humidity and mold as illustrated in FIG. 3. A grid of duct work and vents could direct the interior air into the unit via conduit 22 as previously explained, for conditioning and for return via conduit 30. The stand alone unit would have a conduit 24 in communication with the ambient outside air, as well as a conduit 34 to exhaust to the ambient outside air. Sensors within the facility would report the temperature and humidity for the preset activation of the blower 34 and cooling coil 16. Sensor 28 would sense the ambient temperature and humidity and when climatic conditions were appropriate, activate blower 34 so as to draw outside air into the humidity control unit for conditioning and for replacement of a portion of the interior air being recirculated through conduit 22 and 30.

The advantages of the humidity control assembly 10 of the present invention versus the maintenance of air conditioning, particularly when the building is vacant, are substantial. Current air conditioning systems operate at 240 volts at 40 amps drawing a power requirement of 9,600 watts. Applicant's humidity control assembly 10 could operate at 115 volts and 2 amps, thereby drawing a power of 330 watts, or 115 volts at 10 amps, drawing power at 1,050 watts. This savings in electrical power is significant, particularly with respect to a homeowner or building owner who does not occupy the home on a full time basis or owns a building for storage or the like in which humidity must be controlled but personnel are not required to be present.

While the present invention has been described with respect to the exemplary embodiments thereof, it will be recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art that many modifications and changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore it is manifestly intended that the invention be limited only be the claims and the equivalence thereof.