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author's profile photo Steffi Warnecke

What to do for better air humidity in an office?

Our office feels like the middle of a desert. Humidity is pretty low. Has anybody good ideas to get it up?

We have some plants (poor guys), but have a pretty dark office, no direct sun (or indirect, for that matter), so more plants is not an option.

We have beer jugs standing around for decoration (yes!) and I just filled some of those with water as make-shift humidifier, so we won't get mumified here.

Anybody else with some nice ideas?

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  • Dec 14, 2016 at 01:15 PM

    Well, if you really suffer, you should go for a humidifier. You can buy a silent one; it won't consume too much energy and won't annoy you with background noise.

  • Dec 14, 2016 at 01:45 PM

    If it's getting as bad as that I'll order one over my company. But at the moment I hope for more "quick'n dirty" approaches. ^^

    • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:01 PM

      If you have desktop PC, you can place a glass filled with water next to them, where is hotter, and you get a not-so-efficient humidifier.
      But the final solution is to fix the air conditioning (i guess you have inverters to switch between cold and hot) or buy an humidifier

      • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:31 PM

        We now are surrounded by water in jugs, so maybe tomorrow we'll have a better climate here in the office.

        Of course, fixing the AC is our hope, because the heating has a will of its own, too. But more than telling the janitor (and he tells it the managers) is not possible for us lowly workers. That and getting a heater (which we have now for the case, the general heating is not working correctly again and it's freezing here).

        That's why I want to hold of on the humidifier for now.

    • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:06 PM

      Quick'n dirty - just spray water on the floor ;)

  • Dec 14, 2016 at 01:55 PM

    The most efficient is like:

    No dust, minimal maintenance (wash once a month), no controls...

    humid.png (83.7 kB)
  • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:30 PM

    A bit expensive, but perhaps solves your issue and with the color options and adjustable LED you can also control the mood in the office, not just the environment in your personal workspace:

    • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:34 PM

      Uuh, I like that one. But not for the office, more for home.

      I was thinking about buying a nice small fountain. You know, there are reaaaally nice ones for rooms.

      • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:40 PM

        "nice small fountain" - tested, no effect! The water surface is too small

        • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:44 PM

          We'll see. There are different kinds. That's just the name I used to describe it. It's not really a fountain, but can also mimic a stream or something like this. Or runs over stones etc.

          • Dec 14, 2016 at 03:08 PM

            Just to compare: the device I am using has effective water surface of 12000 cm² or 1.2 m²

            Plus forced air flow...


      • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:40 PM

        I haven't seen such a fountain for a long time. My parents had one like 40 years ago, but I've not seen one since. It looked like this:

        Yes, including the tacky plastic "lilies"

        You've just made me look, and there are some really nice ones these days. I'm tempted... :-)

        (Once again, image resizing doesn't seem to work here...)

        • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:43 PM

          There are sooo many different kinds. I've seen some great ones. My colleague and I are one the same page, so we'll have a look next Monday if we can't find a nice one. ^^

          And that thing is really ugly. *laugh*

    • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:39 PM


      Water tank capacity: 750ml

      Cools the air in the area of 3-4 m2

      Not for the office use...

      • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:46 PM

        Why not?

        PS: I like how I can trick the minimum character validation by just putting in blanks. ^^

      • Dec 14, 2016 at 02:53 PM

        Yes, personal space - not full office. I was thinking of Steffi's well-being, and considering her kaleidoscope avatar, perhaps she would like the color changing LED :)

        • Dec 14, 2016 at 03:02 PM

          Yes, she would. ^^

          I have a loudspeaker that kind of looks like that. Also can change it's color.

          • Dec 14, 2016 at 03:12 PM

            My son actually put the Evapolar on his Christmas list, so he could have a personal A/C for his bedroom. I wasn't convinced by the YouTube video review I watched, so I would be curious to know your experience if you do end up purchasing it.

        • Dec 14, 2016 at 03:23 PM

          Just some real life experience:

          In order to keep humidity in the 16 m² room >40% in the winter time I have to evaporate about 10 liters of water per day. Without evaporation the humidity will be about 15% (room temperature 24° C)

    • Dec 14, 2016 at 05:04 PM

      If you actually sit in a 3-4 sq.m cell then this thing could help but if you are in an open space like the folks on the pictures then IMHO you're just wasting energy running this device. And dude in the top picture is wearing warm slippers, socks, jeans and long sleeve shirt while sitting next to a cooling device. Seriously? I guess he's a typical investor...

  • Dec 14, 2016 at 04:08 PM

    Buy a fish tank and fill it with water. The oxygenator and pumps will create enough evaporation, and the fish will give Steffi a nice colour pattern.

    • Dec 15, 2016 at 08:50 AM

      For the office? :D

      I loved the fish tank we had at our biology classroom in school way back when, though. Always a nice distraction watching the guppies swim around.

  • Dec 14, 2016 at 04:29 PM

    Because of the central heating system we have a dry air everywhere in winter. For myself I solve the problem by drinking more water and using just 1-2 drops of argan oil (like this one) with the moisturizer in the morning. It works wonders, before that I used to feel like a mummy in the afternoon. Small travel size bottle lasts the whole heating season. It also works great for air travel, by the way.

    Not a big fan of the humidifiers and simply leaving water around doesn't help, unfortunately.

    • Dec 14, 2016 at 04:58 PM

      In the winter time in Moscow it's terribly dry due to heating... And the only working solution is the one I have presented on the picture (tested all other solutions).

  • Dec 14, 2016 at 04:38 PM

    What's the main purpose for needing more humidity? The easiest thing to do is to humidify only the air you breathe, if that is your goal. If you're worried about flyaway hair, static cling, etc. then you need to go bigger.
    • Dec 14, 2016 at 08:15 PM

      Can't speak for Steffi but for me the problem is mostly that the skin gets very dry. Start to feel like a mummy, exactly as Steffi mentioned. Unfortunately, this is more problem for the ladies than for the gents.

      Hm, I think I need to get in on this air business. Create a Dart Wader-like costume. Your ultimate personal climate control. And deluxe model with noise cancelling to silence those pesky ringing cell phones (attn: Matt Fraser!). Super deluxe model with a nap pod. And wheels. Different skins like for cell phones. Opportunities are endless! This would totally transform the office environment. :)

      • Dec 15, 2016 at 08:51 AM

        Dart Wader? Is that the lesser known cousin twice removed of Darth Vader? :D


        But yes, pretty much what Jelena and Simone wrote:

        dry air = dry skin and headaches and low motivation; we feel kind of worn out, too. No fun.

        • Dec 15, 2016 at 03:23 PM

          Maybe bit of SADD too? You've pretty much just described how everyone feels all winter in the upper midwest. I consider feeling like a rice krispy "normal" during the heating season.

        • Dec 15, 2016 at 06:45 PM

          LOL Steffi, no, that's what happens when you make a mental note "check spelling on Google" and forget to follow through. Thanks for the correction!

    • Dec 15, 2016 at 07:59 AM

      Air too dry make me hard to breath since it seems i'm breathing sand paper and my throat go on fire. Plus dry air give me headache and lower my productivity :)

  • Dec 15, 2016 at 08:52 AM

    Given your previous migration work, I'd expected the room is still moistened with sweat'n'tears:)

    • Dec 15, 2016 at 09:00 AM

      Thanks for your empathy, Volker. :P

      No, I didn't want my colleagues to see me cry, so I moved to another room with my consultants most of the time. ;)

  • Dec 15, 2016 at 04:29 PM

    The bottles of water you have out are probably extremely inefficient. Getting moisture into the air is primarily based on two specific principles.

    1) Humidity level - you have no problem with that. The lower the humidity the easier for water to evaporate.

    2) Surface area - this can be influenced by a number of factors.

    - Orientation and particle size of water: sprays micro-droplets have more surface area and can transfer large amounts of water to the air. These are like misters. But impractical for office settings

    - Movement of water - circulation of water moves water against the air and creates micro-currents at the surface of the water which move the air and bring more air into contact with the surface of the water. Still water with little to no air movement means the air at the immediate surface of the water gets humidified, but if that air does not move away and get replaced with less humid air, not much water gets transferred to the air.

    Typical store bought fountains can be noise and distracting in an office. I would recommend a vertical water wall. You can find many commercial varieties for sale and maybe the company could hang a couple of these in the office at some point.

    In the meantime, you can easily build a small desktop version for your area. Getting 1/2 dozen or so on desktops could really help with your issue.

    So my recommendation is for a simple device vertical wall fountain. It would take up minimal space on a desktop. First, get a small fountain pump, (< $30.00 at most garden stores). A small window box planter, maybe 12" x 6" by 6" (LxWxH), with no drainage holes.. At the garden store get a small thin piece of flagstone or slate. Maybe 10" x 12" by 1/4". You may only be able to get 1/2 pieces. Fill the tray with pea gravel, stick the flagstone upright in the pea gravel with the pump under the gravel in a plastic container with multiple small holes. Glue the tubing from the pump across the top of the stone with silicone. Pierce the tubing about every half inch so the water flows down the surface of the stone back into the tray. This keeps it from splashing and making a lot of noise. Depending on the pump, you may need a valve on the tubing to allow adjustment of the water flow. Be prepared to add water twice a day. Might add a timer onto the plug to turn it on and off.

    To get even more water transfer, add a small air pump. Get a long airstone, (10" long) and insert it into the tray on top, or just below the surface of the gravel. Again you may need a restricting valve to adjust the air flow so the noise is not too distracting and the bubbling doesn't splash out the water.

    I also recommend a dropper full of bleach once a week to the water. You'll have to adjust for the volume of your system. If things start to grow or stink, add a bit more. If your office smells like a pool, add less.

    This is a project that most people could do in 1/2 day once they get all the supplies together.

    • Dec 15, 2016 at 07:05 PM

      Oh my, the things you learn on SCN... :) By the way, fountain pump should be much cheaper online. Also turns out there are tons of YouTube videos on diy fountains. Didn't even know it was a thing, wow...

    • Dec 16, 2016 at 09:12 AM

      Yep, makes me wanna build one for my balcony at home in spring. ^^

    • Dec 16, 2016 at 09:49 AM

      Can you estimate the water surface area of the proposed design?

      • Dec 17, 2016 at 06:01 AM

        Depends on the actual size of flagstone or slate you use. But figure the 10" x 12" flagstone as suggested, and about 5" of that would be in the gravel to keep it upright that leaves about a 7"x10" evaporating area, or 70 sq, in, (451 sq. cm).

        Based on some online calculators for STILL surfaces using the following values, 71F office temp, 65F stone temp, 20% office humidity, and 0.2 MPH air flow across the surface I get a rate of about 1.5 cups of water per 8 hr day could be estimated.

        Since the water is flowing and moving, I'd say at least 2 cups/8 hrs or close to a half liter, (.473L).

        A way to double the surface area easily would be to use two pieces of stone, in an A-frame style and flow water down both sides. That would double the surface area to 140 sq. in and probably evaporate about 1L per 8 hr. Which for a desktop system would be pretty good I think.

  • Dec 22, 2016 at 02:57 PM

    I'm a bit late to the party but can't you just move to another office, one with windows and sunlight.

    That does wonders for productivity, especially in these dark days (assuming your location is somehwat northern hemispherish)

    • Dec 22, 2016 at 06:30 PM

      I've never said, we don't have windows. ;) We do. And they are huuuuuge. But our windows face the inner yard and we're at the bottom, so now direct sunlight.

      And nope, moving to another office is not an option. Could you just move in your company building? oO

      • Dec 23, 2016 at 10:18 AM

        Yeah I think I can move in this building.

        You don't have to see your colleagues face to face 8 hours a day, there is an added benefit of being in 1 room but it has a diminishing return.

        In believe that in most projects 2 days a week is optimal.

        Can't you work from home?

        Or if this is not a possibility how about booking various meeting rooms all day and work from there, a change of scenery can do you good and it will reflect in the quality of delivered work.

        Cheers, Rob Dielemans

        • Dec 23, 2016 at 03:08 PM

          Wow! you have a good client!! Areyou a consultant or employee?

          You mean it's optimal to only see your colleagues two days a week? I guess it depends on the services you provide to the project and exactly what you do. I have a few colleagues I'd only like to see once a month!! But it seems that those are the ones that darken my doorway the most!

          I haven't yet had a client that would be happy if I booked up conference rooms so I could work alone. Let alone had a client that had enough conference rooms that I could even consider doing that. And I'd probably have to move every hour or so to a different one. Might as well jus work in the cafeteria.

          While most of my clients have been very good about remote consulting, most still want you on site. Unless you need to travel far. We had one consultant on a project from South Africa that would fly in for two weeks and then work from home for two weeks. But that was simply due to travel costs. And that he was very, very good.

        • Dec 23, 2016 at 08:58 PM

          I'm not a consultant and I really like working in the office AND my colleagues (I share the office with two of them). ;) Moving around would make my work harder, too. I have my desk with all my stuff etc. I don't really like working away from it.

          The only issue we have is the non-existent sunshine in our office. And the currently very dry air.

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