Styrofoam for Reducing Humidity

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by joebryant, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Styrofoam for Reducing Humidity
    The directions for lowering the humidity in my two Genesis 1588 Hovabors say, “ …The humidity in the incubator can be reduced by covering part of the water trough with aluminum foil and securing it with tape…” That sounded like a lot of bother, so I started looking for something that would float and cover some of the surface of the water without sinking. I settled on styrofoam coffee cup (bottoms only) and take-home restaurant meal containers, both having flat surfaces that can be cut to any shape/size needed, depending on brand of incubator(s) being used.
    Testing incubator #1 with no eggs
    I set my two new hygrometers calibrations using the salt method given below and was getting consistent readings of 52% humidity; using the results of the salt test, that calculated out to be actually 52% X 1.08 = 56.16% humidity for the first 18 days, MUCH too high. I covered part of surface of the water with two bottoms off of styrofoam cups; that lowered the humidity to a reading of 43% (actually 43% X 1.08 = 46.44% humidity). That’s about what I want for hatching when I add eggs later.
    I wanted to see what humidity I would get for the last three days, so I began by removing the two styrofoam cup bottom from the first area for water and added water to the second container. That gave me a hygrometer reading of 65% or actually 65% X 1.08 = 70.2%. That will do for the last two or three days.
    How to Calibrate a Hygrometer
    by Lianne McLeod, DVM
    *******To calibrate a hygrometer you will need:
    · 1/2 cup table salt
    · approximately 1/4 cup water
    · coffee cup
    · hygrometer
    · large re-sealable freezer bag
    1. Place 1/2 cup of salt in the coffee cup, and add the water. Stir for a bit to totally saturate the salt (the salt won't dissolve, it will be more like really wet sand).
    2. Place the salt/water mix in a re-sealable plastic bag, along with the hygrometer, and seal the bag. Note: make sure none of the salt/water mix comes in direct contact with the hygrometer.
    3. Set this bag aside at room temperature for 8-12 hours, in a location where the temperature is fairly constant.
    4. After 8-12 hours, check the reading of the hygrometer. It is best to read it while still in the bag.
    The relative humidity in the sealed bag with the salt/water mix should be 75 percent (mine read about 72 percent).
    5. For adjustable hygrometers, adjust to read 75 percent. You will have to do this very quickly, or remember how much you need to adjust the setting (e.g. mine read 72 percent rather than 75 percent, so I would need to adjust the dial up 3 percentage points).
    If yours is not adjustable (like mine), simply make a note of how "off" your hygrometer reads. If it reads below 75 percent, you will need to add the difference to your actual readings. If your hygrometer read above 75 percent on the calibration, you will need to subtract the difference from your actual reading.
    In my example: after sitting in the bag, my hygrometer read 72 percent, when it should have read 75 percent -- a difference of 3 percent. I now add 3 percent to the readings I take on the hygrometer (e.g. in a tank) to get the actual relative humidity.
    Remember: always give a hygrometer about 2 hours to stabilize before taking a reading, as changes in the relative humidity may take a while to register accurately on a hygrometer.

    Burbs (on byc) wrote:
    *Kosher salt is better because it is pure NaCl. Table salt has additives such as iodine and anticaking chemicals.
    Mine was off by 10 when calibrating with salt. I don't think it is that uncommon with the $20 digitals.
    When calculating at different humidity percentages keep in mind that it is not a direct addition. For example, mine read 65% when it should have read 75%. Thats a factor of 115% that needs to be added to the 65% reading. So if I am reading 35% on my meter the actaul is 40.25% (35 X 1.15 correction factor).
    From wikipedia:
    "The critical relative humidity (CRH) of a salt is defined as the relative humidity of the surrounding atmosphere (at a certain temperature) at which the material begins to absorb moisture from the atmosphere and below which it will not absorb atmospheric moisture.
    When the humidity of the atmosphere is equal to (or is greater than) the critical relative humidity of a sample of salt, the sample will take up water until all of the salt is dissolved to yield a saturated solution. All water-soluble salts and mixtures have characteristic critical humidities; it is a unique material property.
    I replied:
    Burbs, thanks for posting that. That could make a BIG difference in the original post. Mine was 70% rather than 75% so I was just quickly adding 5% as suggested in my post above, i.e., right now my hygrometer is reading 43% or 43+5=48% the old way. However, doing it correctly 75/70= 1.07 , so 43 x 1.07 = 46.01% NOT 48%. That incorrect difference of 2% could make an important difference when incubating eggs and deciding when/whether or not to add water.
    Also, when comparing my hygrometer's percentage to another that's known to be 100% correct, I could not see mine at 43% and the correct one at 46% and simply figure 3% difference at every percentage change, e.g., if mine only read 12% humidity, 12 x 1.07 = 12.84% not 15%. Thanks to you, I am going to keep a calculator next to my incubator and hygrometer from now on.

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