JS humidify the National Gallery

JS Humidifiers has recently supplied nine Neptronic SKE resistive steam humidifiers to the National Gallery in London to provide in total up to 220kg of steam every hour to the atmosphere inside the Sainsbury Wing galleries and the main building, maintaining an optimum humidity around some of the world’s most valuable paintings.
Approximately five million people visit the National Gallery each year, which covers an area of more than 46,000m², equivalent to six football pitches. It houses such great works of art as Vincent Van Gough’s Sunflowers, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks and Botticelli’s Venus and Mars.

The design and project management was undertaken by Howard Hall of Andrew Reid & Partners. Mr Hall commented: “We need to maintain 55% relative humidity within the gallery ±5% rh. The original resistive steam system needed replacing and we wanted to install a humidifier that was easier to maintain.”

“The previous type of resistive steam humidifier took anything up to four hours to be serviced, whereas the boiling vessel on the Neptronic SKE can be dismantled, cleaned and put back online with a downtime of just 30 minutes. Also, after running the Neptronic SKE’s we were surprised how little scale there was when operated on a softened water supply. They are practically scale-free with minimal deposit in the boiling vessel even after several weeks of 24 hour operation.

Maintaining the relative humidity in museums and galleries is difficult in an environment that is empty one minute and the next full of tourists walking in from the rain. Humidity levels can fluctuate rapidly and the humidification system must be capable of very fast reactions. The Neptronic SKE is ideal for this type of application as it has 0-100% modulation and can reduce steam output within seconds of a signal from the room sensors via the BMS.

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