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koa
02-20-2010, 07:20 AM
For those of us who must heat our homes during the winter months low RH can be a problem.

Bit of a pack rat. Once again stuff that most would consider garbage has been recycled into a functional item.
Listed below are the parts necessary to build your own case or cabinet humidifier.
1. prescription drug vial
2. Hydrosource crystals
3. capillary matting
Just drill a bunch of holes in the Rx vial cap (non child proof works the best). From your remnant scrap of capillary matting (the green matting that greenhouses and home gardener use to water pots) cut disc shape chunk to fit inside the caps inner lip. Drop in a few crystals of Hydrosource. Add water. Let swell. Add more crystal or remove excess. Soak matting. Cap. Recharge when crystals shrink.

The capillary matting may not be necessary. Totally hydrated the crystals do not drip. More of a peace of mind drip barrier. Any form of wicking material would probably work. The Hydrosource crystals look to expand 5-10 folds their dry volume. Start with less than you think is needed.

didgeridoo2
02-20-2010, 07:42 AM
How long before they swell to capacity /size? Have you done any tests on change in rh levels before and after? The idea is cool and if there isn't any leak worries, I'd be willing to try if I could find the crystals locally.

spots
02-20-2010, 08:14 AM
Great idea!

These crystals are used in lots of instrument humidifiers and cigar humidors. Oasis case humidifiers use these types of crystals.

I purchased a 3 oz bag of the crystals at a garden center for $4. The brand name is "Soil Moist". 3 oz will make a lot of humidifiers and last a long time.

The crystals are used in gardening to reduce the amount of watering needed. The crystals absorb the moisture then slowly release it back into the soil.

koa
02-20-2010, 01:07 PM
How long before they swell to capacity /size? Have you done any tests on change in rh levels before and after? The idea is cool and if there isn't any leak worries, I'd be willing to try if I could find the crystals locally.

Didn't time the swelling phase. A few minutes from hard crystal to gel blobs. The stuff comes in different grades (sizes). From fine to coarse. I made a 20dram vial and 10 dram vial size today. 20 dram vial sitting in a case that read ~40% RH. Will check in couple days. I did not insert the capillary matting material into the caps. Once the crytals soaked up the water I could shake the vial vigorously with no moisture escaping. But if the crystals dry out to the point where there is standing water and you are in a rush to replace the humidifier the matting would be needed to prevent water leaking until the crystals soaked up the water.

The Hydrosource crystals hold significantly more water than the floral green foam. Per volume at least 2x as much. Not sure what the RH equilibrium point is. Hopefully somewhere around 50% RH.

scottie
02-20-2010, 03:29 PM
I used one of those little plastic bicycle tire patch kit cases, cut a piece of sponge to fit, soak the sponge, wring a bit so it's not sopping and voila. I have to resoak the sponge every few days but hey, free is free. . .

haole
02-20-2010, 04:09 PM
Gotta try out those crystals! I used a sponge and it got moldy and disgusting very quickly.

koa
02-21-2010, 07:03 AM
~12 hours in cases. Ambient room RH 35-40% at 19-22*C. 20 dram size is in an old ProTec soprano size case. RH has only risen from ~40% to 43%. 10 dram size is in a soprano size Guardian hard case. RH has risen from 45% to 52%.

Placed 250ml (volume of dry crystals) in a container. Added 1000ml of water. When I checked the container in 5 minutes all the water was absorbed. Looked like the crystals could absorb more water. Too small a container to add more water. It was maxed out with the expanded crystals. I would start with no more than a 1:10 ratio of crystals to water.

Aunt Betty
02-21-2010, 07:31 AM
Thanks! I'll go get some crystals.