Dehumidification >> How Effective Are Dehumidifiers

In recent years, we have received hundreds of requests for small scale lumber dry kiln plans from woodworking hobbyists. People were looking for an inexpensive and simple kiln design that could cost effectively dry as little as a few hundred board feet of lumber How Effective Are Dehumidifiers or as much as several thousand board feet of lumber each year. 

There are many different kiln designs including solar, dehumidification, direct or indirect fired, and vacuum kilns. For small operations, there is a large amount of information available on solar kiln design How Effective Are Dehumidifiers and operation. However, solar lumber kilns are not effective for large portions of the calendar year in northern climates (due to cold winter temperatures). 

Our goal was to develop a small scale kiln that produced quality kiln dried lumber, was functional throughout the year, How Effective Are Dehumidifiers was reasonably inexpensive to build, and was constructed with common building materials from the local lumber yard and hardware store. With these constraints in mind, we chose simple 2" x 6" construction to build the drying chamber and powered it with a common basement dehumidifier, electric heater, and four attic fans. 

This publication outlines the basic construction of a small scale dehumidification dry kiln. When properly loaded, How Effective Are Dehumidifiers this kiln can dry approximately 600 board feet of 4/4" lumber. This plan allows for flexibility in the design of the kiln. The kiln volume can be modified to custom fit the individual’s needs. 

As with any value adding opportunity (including wood drying), How Effective Are Dehumidifiers outcomes can never be guaranteed. It is highly recommended that users of this publication seek basic training in lumber dry kiln operation. Mistakes can be both costly and frustrating. Sources of additional information are listed at the end of this publication. 

Materials List and Building Plans The following section includes a materials list, the basic kiln plans, How Effective Are Dehumidifiers and the basic electrical considerations for building the dehumidification dry kiln. Please refer to Appendix A which shows the Lumber Dry Kiln Bill of Materials. All of these products were purchased at a local home center, except the remote hygrometer thermometer which was purchased at a local electronics store. 

Total costs for the materials were $2,704 based on 2006 prices. Appendix B illustrates the kiln construction layout including a plan view, section view, front elevation, back elevation, How Effective Are Dehumidifiers and detailed illustrations of the door sections. These drawings are not to scale (see Appendix B1-B6). The floor system was framed using 2" x 8" construction 16 inches on center (see plan Appendix B1). 

Three quarter inch CDX plywood was used for the inside floor. One-half inch pressure treated plywood was used to close the underside of the floor system. Pressure treated plywood is recommended since the bottom of the kiln may be in moist conditions if stored outside. If stored outside, How Effective Are Dehumidifiers place on skids to raise the kiln off of the ground. 

The floor system was insulated with rigid foam insulation cut to fit between the 2"x 8"joists. A plastic vapor barrier could be used under the three-quarter plywood floor; however, How Effective Are Dehumidifiers rigid foam acts as it own vapor barrier. The side and rear wall systems were framed using 2" x 6" construction 16 inches on center (see section and back elevation Appendix A). 

One-half inch CDX plywood was used for the inside wall sheathing How Effective Are Dehumidifiers and three-quarter inch T-111 plywood siding was used on the exterior walls. The walls were insulated with R-19 fiberglass batts. A plastic vapor barrier was used between the inside wall sheathing and wall studs (see Figure 1). The door side of the kiln was framed using 2" x 4" construction (see Appendix B3: Front Elevation and Appendix B5: Door Details). 

The doors were designed to be removed in a three-panel system. Doors of this size are difficult to hinge without sagging, How Effective Are Dehumidifiers so removable panels were a suitable alternative (see Figure 2). The door system was insulated with rigid foam insulation cut to fit between the 2" x 4" members. One-half inch CDX plywood was used for the inside door sheathing and one-half inch T-111 plywood siding was used on the exterior of the door panels. 

An access door was added on the back kiln wall to allow access to the dehumidifier and electronic equipment (see Appendix B4: Back Elevation). This prevented the need for opening the main door section and crawling over the lumber pile when access was needed to the dehumidifier. The roof system was framed using 2"x 6" rafters 16 inches on [ ME] center (see Appendix B2-B4). 

One-half inch CDX plywood was used for both the interior How Effective Are Dehumidifiers and exterior sheathing. The roof system was insulated with R-19 fiberglass batts. A plastic vapor barrier was used between the inside sheathing and roof rafters. The roof system was covered with standard roofing felt and fiberglass shingles (see Figure 3). 

Aluminum fascia How Effective Are Dehumidifiers and plywood soffit was used to finish the roof system. A baffle system was hung from the roof system down to the top level of the lumber charge. The baffle consisted of 2" x 4" construction with one-half inch CDX sheathing and was hinged at the top using standard door hinges. The baffle served as a platform to mount the four whole house attic fan units which circulate air (see Figure 4). 

In addition, the baffle controlled the airflow within the kiln which forced air through the lumber charge. Initially, How Effective Are Dehumidifiers two attic fans were installed with resulting air speeds of 220 cubic feet per minute which was not sufficient for white woods such as maple or basswood. Two more fans were added in the final design which produced air speeds in excess of 400 cubic feet per minute. 

These fans were wired to allow either two How Effective Are Dehumidifiers or four fan operation. Standard hardware used for the framing included 16d and 8d nails. Stainless steel screws should be used to fasten the interior sheathing given the extremely corrosive nature of a dry kiln environment. 

In addition, it is important to use stainless steel fasteners which come in contact with pressure treated wood. ACQ pressure treated wood is extremely corrosive on non-coated How Effective Are Dehumidifiers and galvanized fasteners. These fasteners can fail in as little as one year.

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