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  1. #1
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    Humidifier on the Intake

    Anyone tried using a humidifier at the intake to increase cooling?

    I'm thinking it could cool in 2 ways:
    1) Humid air has higher heat capacity so the same volume moving across your heat sink can absorb more heat. It's like moving more air across your heat sink.
    2) If you get cheap humidifiers that don't convert water into water vapor right away and you see "steam" come out, it's even better cuz the mini water dropplets can remove more heat away from heat sinks as they evaporate on them.


    So, anyone tried this before?

  2. #2
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    I doubt you would see more than a degree or two drop in temps if at all. And generally adding moisture to your computer case is never a good idea. Just because you don't see the water vapor ('steam') doesn't mean there isnt any.
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  3. #3

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    And if it's steam that means it's being heated which means the air going in would be heated by the steam. Plus, moisture+electronics with electricity running through them do NOT make a good combo.
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  4. #4
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    no no, not HOT steam. I'm talking about room temperature water droplets, and not vapor yet. Vapor you cant see, but for cheap humidifiers, you get a cloud of tiny droplets at first from ultrasonic vibrations which evaporate into vapor in a few seconds once airborne. These droplets evaporate fast so there won't be water build up causing shorts (unless u turned off the exhaust fans and drove the humidity in the case to like 95% making dew form).

  5. #5
    Member Kasm's Avatar
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    You are correct that water has a high heat capacity but you are wrong in assuming it would increase cooling. In order to artifically increase humidity you have to vaporize the water which is adding heat to the water to turn it to steam. Though this added heat may not increase the bulk air temperature. Each H2O molecule has extra energy and is a localized hot spot. And each time a water molecule does come out of the vapor state it is going to impart its latent heat of fusion to its surroundings (ie. heat up its surrounds, not cool it).

    In addition, Steam and liquid water do not have the same properties however. The specific heat of H20 drops when it converts from water to steam. In rough order of magnitude it drops in half. (Which is roughly double the specific heat of regular air). However at this point the density of H20 has also dropped significantly. Thereby reducing H2O cooling capability. The net result is that any small amount of extra cooling you did see would not be nearly worth the risk have a high humidity environment for your computer. Sudden temperature changes could cause the humid air to condense on your hardware.

  6. #6
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    i don't think this would be worth it. If you want a cooler pc, i'd suggest going with a H2O setup.
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  7. #7
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    Kasm, I agree that if the water comes out of the vapor state, it will heat up the surface but it won't do that because it's going from a region of lower temperature to a region of higher temperature. Also, it's going from a region of higher humidity to a region of lower humidity. Both ensures that it is not likely to condense on the heat sink.

    I did just realize one very important thing. That is, I have hard water where I live, the humidifier always leaves hard water dust on surfaces. That would be really bad for the heat sink in the long run when all of it's blades are covered with calcium haha.

  8. #8
    Member Kasm's Avatar
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    Doing the opposite would give better cooling:

    1) Conformal coat your hardware to prevent shorting.
    2) DE-humidify the air in your case and possibly heat it.
    3) Have a sprayer spray water on your short proof hardware.

    The water will evaporate taking it heat of fusion away from the hardware thereby cooling it. Depending on certain factors you could do a massive amount of cooling using this method.

    NOTE: I don't actually recommend you doing this

  9. #9
    Member Kasm's Avatar
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    Sounds good, experiments always find the flaws in theory and they are great when I am not footing the bill/risks Good luck

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    LOL, yes, that would be sweet, but pretty hard to do.

    I'm gonna try a short run with the humidifier at home tonight. I'll post results after. It'll be on a system that if it breaks, it's not that bad.

  11. #11
    Member Kasm's Avatar
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    Weird, my reply went up before his response.

  12. #12
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    what the? weird is right. When i replied, your reply (post #9) was definitely not there yet and that would make sense based on context.

  13. #13
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    Alright, tests results are as follows:

    Using ducted fan that blows directly onto cpu heat sink and fan on a X2 4200+ system non overclocked.

    Load temp without humidifer: 61C
    Load temp with humidifer at the intake: 58C
    Ambient temp at intake for both: 24.8C

    Upon turning off humidifer, CPU load temp returned to 61C


    Looks like it does to something noticeable.

  14. #14
    Member Dice's Avatar
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    I suppose one of two things are happening here.

    1- A fine coat of moisture is being applied to the heatsink, improving its ability to transfer heat to the air blowing through it, or evaporating from it, or;

    2- The moisture in the air is evaporating before is is drawn into the intake, lowering the air temperature to below ambient.


    In the long run, option 2 would be far better IMO as option 1 could cause a drip onto the motherboard or PCI-e card/socket causing remorse.


    On the bright side, if your PC ever gets a virus, you could just put some Vick's Vapor Rub into the humidifier....
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    You are probably right. Not something that's doable in the long run though or else I would end up with hard water dust all over the inside of the case and will probably coat the heat sinks reducing cooling in the long run.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldtna View Post
    You are probably right. Not something that's doable in the long run though or else I would end up with hard water dust all over the inside of the case and will probably coat the heat sinks reducing cooling in the long run.
    that hard water dust is the minerals in water that will short out components, thus the reason why this is a bad idea.
    Now, you COULD try to use distilled water and see if that is better. Seeing as how distilled water won't short out your components, it might work better for the long run.
    still, in the end if you want great results, stick with water cooling.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dapman02 View Post
    that hard water dust is the minerals in water that will short out components, thus the reason why this is a bad idea.
    Now, you COULD try to use distilled water and see if that is better. Seeing as how distilled water won't short out your components, it might work better for the long run.
    still, in the end if you want great results, stick with water cooling.
    Ya, distilled water would be an expensive, annoying, but available option haha.
    This was more of a proof of concept experiment though. I was curious.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dapman02 View Post
    that hard water dust is the minerals in water that will short out components, thus the reason why this is a bad idea.
    Now, you COULD try to use distilled water and see if that is better. Seeing as how distilled water won't short out your components, it might work better for the long run.
    still, in the end if you want great results, stick with water cooling.
    Distilled water will still short out components if it condenses on them. Any dust on the computer parts will be an impurity that will help conduct electricity just as well as tap water would.
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