Today’s energy code requirements have progressively made our apartments, condominiums, single family homes, vacation homes, hotel rooms and essentially all residential uses much “tighter” with respect to air movement, as intended.
At the same time, little change in sizing of HVAC designs have been forthcoming and those that have cannot be addressed with systems currently available in an affordable manner. Most current HVAC designs only address temperature, and leave uncontrolled the moisture buildup in a home as a result of building “tightness” and normal occupant behavior, thereby creating an environment much more conducive to visible microbial growth / “mold”. This resulting moisture buildup within a home, its humidity level, will climb to levels that make daily living uncomfortable, like the outside air on a particularly humid summer day, saturating furniture, window coverings, floor coverings, clothes and even the walls themselves.
After several years of struggling to pinpoint and understand the problem, and after researching and refining building construction techniques to address such things as envelope penetrations, window flashing and sealing, providing proper air flow behind veneers, other flashing details and proper construction oversight, it was determined that the one thing that cannot be constructively controlled on a regular basis is occupant behavior. In 2010, Brian Smith (a licensed general contractor) and Tom Honeycutt (a long time developer/owner) began a search for a standalone dehumidifier with adequate capacity, that could be easily and affordably installed in a standard stud cavity, was quiet, relatively tamper proof and could be used for new construction or retro-fit applications. Basically, units as unobtrusive as an HVAC return in a wall that could be set to a certain desired humidity level and forgotten about by the occupants. Quickly, we determined that only 3 options currently exist in dehumidifiers for residential uses.
First are those available at national hardware and building supplies in the appliance sections of varying sizes, usually designed as free standing and with wheels to be rolled around and relocated easily. These are fine for certain applications, but not all, such as rental apartments where folks don’t like the noise, don’t want to empty the reservoir and “just don’t like that ugly box sitting in the middle of my floor”.
Second, you have units designed specifically for crawl spaces, which do a great job for what they are designed for but still didn’t fit our requirements.
And finally, there is the whole house segment of units designed to tie into the existing HVAC duct work, which again have their applications, but did not meet our specific criteria.
Unable to buy what met our needs, we decided to come up with a design that we felt met our specific needs and get it manufactured. Quickly it was determined that it could be done, but not affordably unless we could reach certain quantities during manufacturing. So in late 2012, Brian and Tom formed Innovative Dehumidifier System LLC (IDS LLC) with the purpose of sharing the expertise gained in this process and providing a solution to address residential occupant behavior once all other physical building issues have been dealt with properly.
The end result is our first unit, the IW25-1. Read our first case study, How the First Occupant Behavior Dehumidification Solution for Apartment Living was created to find out more about how the IW25-1 Dehumidifier and Innovative Dehumidifier Solutions LLC was started.