Accent Refrigeration Systems Ltd.

The Global Energy Integration Experts

Solving Humidity Problems in Ice Rinks

If you can control the humidity in your facility you are one very large step towards creating the ideal ice skating environment.

Humidity enters an ice rink with incoming ventilation air, the opening of doors, from the use of showers, and through the normal respiration of the people within the building.

If your facility is in a cold environment such as Winnipeg, Manitoba the incoming air can easily be 00F and 50% relative humidity during a typical winter day. If this entering cold air is warmed up to 400 F the humidity will now fall to less than 20% because warm air has the ability to hold more moisture. This lower humidity level poses little problem to the proper operation of the facility.

However if your facility is in Los Angeles, California the incoming air could easily be 650 F with a relative humidity of 65%. If this entering warm air is reduced to 500 F inside the skating rink the humidity will skyrocket to 100% relative humidity because the cold air will not hold as much moisture. At this point there is only one place for the water vapour to go, it condenses into water droplets and the problems begin.

Just as a boiling kettle deposits moisture on a cold window on a winter's day, airborne moisture in an ice rink will also deposit on cold surfaces, and of course the coldest spot is very likely the ice surface itself. When this happens, the ice will cloud over, losing its desired sheen and will start to become sluggish to skate on. The glass around the ice surface will also fog over, obstructing the view of the audience.

In addition to the aesthetic inconveniences caused by excessive humidity the condensing moisture releases a tremendous amount of heat into the ice surface that must be removed at the expense of operating the refrigeration equipment longer than would normally be required. Condensation can permeate your building insulation, drastically reducing its effectiveness and of greater consequence, structural steel will start to rust and wood will start to rot, further reducing the integrity of your facility.

In addition to the aesthetic inconveniences caused by excessive humidity the condensing moisture releases a tremendous amount of heat into the ice surface that must be removed at the expense of operating the refrigeration equipment longer than would normally be required. Condensation can permeate your building insulation, drastically reducing its effectiveness and of greater consequence, structural steel will start to rust and wood will start to rot, further reducing the integrity of your facility.

Luckily, with proper design, humidity can be controlled effectively and efficiently. The two commonly used styles of dehumidification systems are the mechanical dehumidifier and the desiccant dehumidifier.

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