Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Have a Dehumidifier at Home

Air quality is one of those things that many homeowners frequently overlook. We assume that the air indoors is better or less polluted than the air outdoors because we’re not dealing with things like car fumes and pollution.

However, your indoor air can be just as bad as the atmosphere outdoors, particularly when you have problems with humidity. Too much humidity in your air can increase the risk of things like respiratory problems, mould, and even an overflow of dust. Here are 3 reasons to consider bringing a dehumidifier into your property.

1. They Combat Mould, Mildew and Dust

Damp in your home caused by humidity can lead to mould and mildew. Often, these problems are the root cause of health issues, such as asthma, respiratory conditions, and asthma. What’s more, constant exposure to mildew and mould may even increase your chances of nervous system disorders.

Taking steps to avoid your risk of moisture build-up by keeping your sewer line clear and fixing leaky pipes is great. However, homeowners can consistently keep their risk to a minimum by investing in a dehumidifier. These crucial tools remove the extra unnecessary moisture from the air, so that it can no longer feed mould spores in your home.

Having a dehumidifier can also help you to get rid of other pesky substances like dust on your mattresses, bedspreads, and other furniture too. That’s because it’s easier for dust to cling to your surfaces when there’s moisture in the air. When the air is dry, regularly vacuuming your home will get rid of a larger portion of dust, keeping the risk of allergy to a minimum. Dehumidifiers even eliminate the risk of dust mites by keeping humidity levels at a inhospitable level for those critters.

2. They Reduce Damp and Condensation

Too much humidity in your home causes a “damp” atmosphere. When the air is moist, the most obvious result is discomfort. You might notice that your breathing feels more laboured just because you’re breathing moisture-laden air. Damp doesn’t just stay in the air however, when it reaches excessive levels, it also begins to build up on the surfaces around your home, particularly in the winter when the cold of the outdoors interacts with the warm humidity indoors.

Humidity causes long-term damage to your woodwork and soft furnishings through damp and condensation. Although it’s common to have condensation in your home from time to time, humidity exacerbates it to dangerous levels, potentially causing peeling wall papers, shrinking wood, and stains on your sofas and curtains.

A dehumidifier will reduce the moisture in the air to reasonable levels again, protecting your belongings and your comfort.

3. They Improve Air Quality for Better Health

Finally, the most important reason to invest in a dehumidifier is that they allow you to improve your air quality and eliminate common health problems. Humidity in your home can lead to an increased risk of respiratory conditions, allergens, and even problems with coughs and stuffy noses. As mould and mildew begin to build up, the effects on your health grow even greater.

Placing a dehumidifier into your home does more than just get rid of musty smells throughout your property. It also absorbs the excess moisture that could be harming your health over time. Remember, the quality of the air in your home isn’t just measured by the amount of toxins that you could be exposed to. Your air quality also depends on the level of humidity in the air too.

Dry air is less likely to feed the bacteria in the atmosphere, reducing your risk of catching bugs and respiratory illnesses. According to studies, dehumidifiers are even useful in preventing asthma attacks because they remove asthma triggers like dust mites, mould, VOCs and building wastes.

Should You Get a Dehumidifier?

In a world where indoor air quality isn’t much better than the polluted air that we find outside, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself, your family and even your home. A dehumidifier can help you to improve the air quality that you’re exposed to every day.

By eliminating the unnecessary moisture in your home, your domestic dehumidifier will improve your quality of life, reduce the risk of mould and mildew, and even protect your health.

Biomass Pelletization Process

Biomass pellets are a popular type of biomass fuel, generally made from wood wastes, agricultural biomass, commercial grasses and forestry residues. In addition to savings in transportation and storage, pelletization of biomass facilitates easy and cost effective handling. Dense cubes pellets have the flowability characteristics similar to those of cereal grains. The regular geometry and small size of biomass pellets allow automatic feeding with very fine calibration. High density of pellets also permits compact storage and rational transport over long distance. Pellets are extremely dense and can be produced with a low moisture content that allows them to be burned with very high combustion efficiency.

biomass-pellets

Biomass pelletization is a standard method for the production of high density, solid energy carriers from biomass. Pellets are manufactured in several types and grades as fuels for electric power plants, homes, and other applications. Pellet-making equipment is available at a variety of sizes and scales, which allows manufacture at domestic as well industrial-scale production. Pellets have a cylindrical shape and are about 6-25 mm in diameter and 3-50 mm in length. There are European standards for biomass pellets and raw material classification (EN 14961-1, EN 14961-2 and EN 14961-6) and international ISO standards under development (ISO/DIS 17225-1, ISO/DIS 17225-2 and ISO/DIS 17225-6).

Process Description

The biomass pelletization process consists of multiple steps including raw material pre-treatment, pelletization and post-treatment. The first step in the pelletization process is the preparation of feedstock which includes selecting a feedstock suitable for this process, its filtration, storage and protection. Raw materials used are sawdust, wood shavings, wood wastes, agricultural residues like straw, switchgrass etc. Filtration is done to remove unwanted materials like stone, metal, etc. The feedstock should be stored in such a manner that it is away from impurities and moisture. In cases where there are different types of feedstock, a blending process is used to achieve consistency.

The moisture content in biomass can be considerably high and are usually up to 50% – 60% which should be reduced to 10 to 15%. Rotary drum dryer is the most common equipment used for this purpose. Superheated steam dryers, flash dryers, spouted bed dryers and belt dryers can also be used. Drying increases the efficiency of biomass and it produces almost no smoke on combustion. It should be noted that the feedstock should not be over dried, as a small amount of moisture helps in binding the biomass particles. The drying process is the most energy intensive process and accounts for about 70% of the total energy used in the pelletization process.

Schematic of Pelletization of Woody Biomass

Before feeding biomass to pellet mills, the biomass should be reduced to small particles of the order of not more than 3mm.  If the pellet size is too large or too small, it affects the quality of pellet and in turn increases the energy consumption. Therefore the particles should have proper size and should be consistent. Size reduction is done by grinding using a hammer mill equipped with a screen of size 3.2 to 6.4 mm. If the feedstock is quite large, it goes through a chipper before grinding.

The next and the most important step is pelletization where biomass is compressed against a heated metal plate (known as die) using a roller. The die consists of holes of fixed diameter through which the biomass passes under high pressure. Due to the high pressure, frictional forces increase, leading to a considerable rise in temperature. High temperature causes the lignin and resins present in biomass to soften which acts as a binding agent between the biomass fibers. This way the biomass particles fuse to form pellets.

The rate of production and electrical energy used in the pelletization of biomass  are strongly correlated to the raw material type and processing conditions such as moisture content and feed size. The The average energy required to pelletize biomass is roughly between 16 kWh/t and 49kWh/t. During pelletization, a large fraction of the process energy is used to make the biomass flow into the inlets of the press channels.

Binders or lubricants may be added in some cases to produce higher quality pellets. Binders increase the pellet density and durability. Wood contains natural resins which act as a binder. Similarly, sawdust contains lignin which holds the pellet together. However, agricultural residues do not contain much resins or lignin, and so a stabilizing agent needs to be added in this case. Distillers dry grains or potato starch is some commonly used binders. The use of natural additives depends on biomass composition and the mass proportion between cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin and inorganics.

Due to the friction generated in the die, excess heat is developed. Thus, the pellets are very soft and hot (about 70 to 90oC). It needs to be cooled and dried before its storage or packaging. The pellets may then be passed through a vibrating screen to remove fine materials. This ensures that the fuel source is clean and dust free.

The pellets are packed into bags using an overhead hopper and a conveyor belt. Pellets are stored in elevated storage bins or ground level silos. The packaging should be such that the pellets are protected from moisture and pollutants. Commercial pellet mills and other pelletizing equipment are widely available across the globe.

Eco-friendly Benefits of Fiberglass Insulation For Metal Buildings

Fiberglass insulation was first put on the market in 1938, and in all the years since, no alternative has really challenged its preeminent position as the most effective choice for insulation on both commercial and residential construction projects. Fiberglass insulation improves a structure’s energy efficiency, reduces heating and cooling costs, and makes occupants more comfortable. These are just a few of the advantages that make it the insulator of choice, even in the latest eco-friendly projects. Below are  additional benefits of fiberglass insulation:

1) Moisture Resistance

Fiberglass insulation does not absorb or retain water according to www.cyclonebuildings.com who utilise it in some instances. It can still be contaminated or compromised by moisture; insulation that has gotten wet needs to be inspected and dried to ensure that it does not lose its insulating properties.

Wet insulation can be successfully re-installed and deliver its full R-value as intended by the manufacturer so long as installers confirm that the insulation and the area around it in the structure have not been compromised by water.

In order to provide full insulating value, fiberglass insulation requires a vapor barrier. When properly selected and installed, a vapor barrier catches condensation before it can penetrate the building envelope and reach the insulation. The vapor barrier’s perm rating must be appropriate to the structure and the local climate, and it must be sealed into place with a proper adhesive so that it does not leak.

2) Fire Resistance

Fiberglass insulation is inherently non-combustible because the materials from which it is made – sand and/or recycled glass – are non-combustible themselves. Fiberglass insulation does not need to be treated with chemicals to make it fire-resistant, and it does not become any more combustible as it ages.

In many areas, local building codes even allow the use of fiberglass insulation as an effective fire stop in wall assemblies made of wood or steel.

3) Sound Dampening

Fiberglass insulation absorbs sound, and this means it reduces sound transmission through walls, ceilings, floors, and HVAC ducts where it is used. As a general rule of thumb, one inch of fiberglass insulation increases the sound transmission class, or STC, of a building assembly by three or even four points. Additional inches of fiberglass insulation each add two more points to the STC rating.

4) Use Of Recycled Materials

The manufacture of fiberglass insulation has come to rely on incorporating a significant amount of recycled material. Between 1992 and 2000, insulation manufacturers used over 8 billion pounds (3.6 billion kg) of recycled glass from pre and post-consumer sources. Using this material productively saved millions of cubic feet in landfill space.

The total amount of recycled material used in fiberglass insulation varies from brand to brand and product to product, but some products are made with as much as 80 percent recycled glass. Fiberglass insulation also requires the use of silica sand, which is an abundant and naturally-renewing resource.

Bottom Line

Fiberglass insulation remains a highly competitive and attractive insulation option, even when considered according to environmentally-friendly “green” priorities. In the decades it has been used, it has proven time and again to be a reliable and effective material.

Environmentally Friendly Construction Materials

Whether you are a custom home builder, or you are designing your own custom home, it’s worth your while to know about eco-friendly construction materials. Eco-friendly construction materials are becoming increasingly more important as more and more people are realizing the importance of creating a more sustainable world.

Eco-friendly construction materials are a great way to minimize the negative environmental impact that building a home may have. Additionally, homes that are constructed with sustainable building materials are increasing in popularity because of the vast amount of benefits that they have to offer.

An expert from a custom home builder in New Jersey pointed out, “There are a variety of benefits of using sustainable materials when building a home; the most notable is that green materials ultimately save the homeowner money down the line; in addition to the amount of waste that they [green materials] eliminate.”

Sustainable construction materials save homeowners money because they typically keep a house more insulated; cutting down on the use of heating and air conditioning systems, therefore using less electricity, gas, and oil. Below are some environmentally friendly construction materials to consider including in a custom home design.

Eco-Friendly Construction Materials to Include in Your Custom Home Design

Eco-friendly construction materials should not only be sustainable, but they should also not cause any negative effects on the environment. Typical construction materials are detrimental to the environment because of the harsh chemicals they produce; directly causing air pollution. Or, they are detrimental because they use resources that are limited. Here are some safe alternatives to typical construction materials:

Hemp Concrete

Hemp concrete is a biocomposite material which is made up of hemp and a lime-based binder. Hemp concrete is a great alternative to regular concrete because it’s biodegradable and more sustainable.

Not only does hemp concrete act as an insulator and moisture regulator, but it is also extremely durable and will last just as long as regular concrete. Hemp concrete is a great sustainable material to include in your custom home design and will keep both cool and warm air, reducing the need to run heating and cooling systems, therefore also conserving energy.

Sheep’s Wool

Sheep’s wool is a great construction material because it can be regrown quickly and the sheep are not harmed in the process. Sheep’s wool can be used for its insulating benefits in ceilings, attics, and walls. In fact, sheep’s wool is a great insulator for both thermal and acoustic insulation purposes.

Though sheep’s wool is slightly more expensive than other insulation options, the longevity of this insulator is much longer and will reduce electricity bills significantly by keeping cool and warm air in.

Recycled Steel

Rather than using new steel during construction-which uses natural resources during production – consider using recycled steel. Recycled steel will produce less amount of waste in the environment, and will prevent the use of resources that are necessary to create steel.  Steel is relevant in the construction process, especially for beams that will hold up the house, therefore it’s practical to choose steel that is kind to the environment.

Bamboo

Bamboo is an eco-friendly material that can be used for a number of different things. Some of the main benefits that bamboo has to offer include:

  • A durable surface
  • Strength to support other materials upon construction
  • It grows quickly, so is a very sustainable option

Bamboo can be used for both flooring and walls of a home and has a long lifespan, meaning, walls and floors that are designed with bamboo will not have to be replaced often, creating less waste in the environment.

Cork

Similar to bamboo, cork is a fast-growing material and is harvested from a living tree, so no trees need to be cut down in order to produce this material. Cork is most commonly used for flooring because of its resilience and durability. However, cork is another insulation option too because it is impermeable, meaning water will not make its way into it; it’s also soundproof.

Cork, if left uncoated, is naturally fire-resistant so it will not produce toxins if it is burned after replacing it with new cork later down the road.

Make Environmentally Informed Choices in Your Home

If you are a home builder or if you are simply a homeowner that wants to assist in the building process, it’s’ important to know how to make environmentally informed choices when it comes to custom home building. These eco-friendly materials will not only benefit the environment, but they will also positively impact the homeowner. Keep these sustainable and green materials in mind as you begin your custom home design.

Why Engineered Wood Floors are the Best Flooring for Your New Home

Choosing the best flooring for your dream home is not an easy task. There are a wide variety of flooring options available in the market, and it is sometimes frustrating to select the right type of flooring. Engineered wood flooring is a cost-effective and eco-friendly flooring option to add a touch of elegance to your new home. Read more about the unique features of engineered wood flooring below:

  1. Engineered wood is eco-friendly

With increasing focus on green lifestyle, homeowners are looking for eco-friendly hard flooring to make their homes truly green and environmentally-friendly. The appearance of engineered wood flooring is almost the same as that of solid wood flooring but the manufacturing processes are quite different.

Image Source: https://lifestyleflooringuk.co.uk/blog/post/five-benefits-of-linton-engineered-wood-flooring

Engineered wood flooring is made up of a thin veneer on top of a less-expensive plywood. This distinctive style of manufacturing not only helps in conservation of natural wood, but also makes the flooring both cheaper and stronger. A new industry trend is to replace plywood with recycled wood fiber mixed with stone dust which provides additional dimensional stability.

  1. Ease in installation

Engineered wood flooring offers installation advantage as it is easier and cost-effective to install than traditional hardwood floors. The wide range of installation methods include stapling or nailing, fold-and-lock, or glue. The ease in installation makes it ideal for both DIY and professional installation.

Engineered wood floors are milled with tongue and groove (T&G) construction in which the planks are fitted together, like puzzle pieces, with each row held down by the row next to it. T&G milling allow the floors to be stapled or nailed down, glued, and sometimes floated. The versatility of engineered wood can be gauged from the fact that it can be directly installed over a concrete subfloor or on top of old hardwood floors.

  1. Better resistance to moisture

Engineered wood is more capable of fighting moisture than conventional wood floors, primarily due to its dimensional stability which prevents warps and other deformities when it comes into contact with water. The relatively stable structure of engineered wood is provided by the cross-wise layers of plywood fibers which is in contrast to parallel fibers of hardwood.

The moisture-resistant nature of engineered floors makes it well-suited for moisture-prone areas like bathrooms and basements. The ability to withstand moisture means engineered wood is more durable than conventional hardwood floors.

  1. More resistant to temperature changes

Compared to traditional hardwood floors, engineered wood floors have better capabilities to resist temperature changes. The multiple-ply plank design facilitates its expansion without compromising on its structural strength and stability. The hardwood and plywood layers are bonded together under heat and pressure which negates the natural tendency of hardwoods to expand, contract, warp, or cup when exposed to temperature changes in certain areas, like utility rooms.

  1. Amazing range of styles, grades and finishes

Engineered wood floors can adapt to your lifestyle as well as your budget. It is available in a wide array of styles, like oak and maple, and diverse range of multiple finishes including matte, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. You have the option to go for cost-efficient tough, lacquered floor or to choose the top-quality oiled version. You also have the liberty to choose a rustic or a time worn appearance, depending on your preferences.

Conclusion

Engineered wood floors is a cost-efficient, durable, versatile and eco-friendly alternative to traditional flooring options, like hardwood, laminate and parquet flooring. Its ability to withstand moisture and temperature changes makes it well-suited for all kinds of residential and commercial buildings. The easy installation and hassle-free maintenance of engineered wood flooring makes it attractive for an amateur DIY buff as well as for a professional interior decorator. To sum up, engineered wood floors are a logical alternative to provide elegance and creativity to your new home.

Biomass Storage Methods

Sufficient storage for biomass is necessary to accommodate seasonality of production and ensure regular supply to the biomass utilization plant. The type of storage will depend on the properties of the biomass, especially moisture content. For high moisture biomass intended to be used wet, such as in fermentation and anaerobic digestion systems, wet storage systems can be used, with storage times closely controlled to avoid excessive degradation of feedstock. Storage systems typically used with dry agricultural residues should be protected against spontaneous combustion and excess decomposition, and the maximum storage moisture depends on the type of storage employed.

Moisture limits must be observed to avoid spontaneous combustion and the emission of regulated compounds. Cost of storage is important to the overall feasibility of the biomass enterprise. In some cases, the storage can be on the same site as the source of the feedstock. In others, necessary volumes can only be achieved by combining the feedstock from a number of relatively close sources. Typically, delivery within about 50 miles is economic, but longer range transport is sometimes acceptable, especially when disposal fees can be reduced.

Storage of biomass fuels is expensive and increases with capacity.

Agricultural residues such as wheat straw, rice husk, rice straw and corn stover are usually spread or windrowed behind the grain harvesters for later baling. Typically these residues are left in the field to air dry to moisture levels below about 14% preferred for bales in stacks or large piles of loose material. After collection, biomass may be stored in the open or protected from the elements by tarps or various structures. Biomass pelletization may be employed to increase bulk density and reduce storage and transport volume and cost.

Biomass Storage Options

  • Feedstock is hauled directly to the plant with no storage at the production site.
  • Feedstock is stored at the production site and then transported to the plant as needed.
  • Feedstock is stored at a collective storage facility and then transported to the plant from the intermediate storage location.

Biomass Storage Systems

The type of biomass storage system used at the production site, intermediate site, or plant can greatly affect the cost and the quality of the fuel. The most expensive storage systems, no doubt, are the most efficient in terms of maintaining the high fuel quality. Typical storage systems, ranked from highest cost to lowest cost, include:

  • Enclosed structure with crushed rock floor
  • Open structure with crushed rock floor
  • Reusable tarp on crushed rock
  • Outside unprotected on crushed rock
  • Outside unprotected on ground
  • Subterranean

The storage of biomass is often necessary due to its seasonal production versus the need to produce energy all year round. Therefore to provide a constant and regular supply of fuel for the plant requires either storage or multi-feedstocks to be used, both of which tend to add cost to the system.

Reducing the cost of handling and stable storage of biomass feedstocks are both critical to developing a sustainable infrastructure capable of supplying large quantities of biomass to biomass processing plants. Storage and handling of biomass fuels is expensive and increases with capacity. The most suitable type of fuel store for solid biomass fuel depends on space available and the physical characteristics of the fuel.