Winter in Montana is dry; high humidity is rarely a concern. And yet my son-in-law and the manager of The Oil Barn here on the farm, regularly uses a dehumidifier in the barn where he presses safflower oil. When I think of folks who might use dehumidifiers, I imagine tropical islands, places with a great deal more moisture than we get here on the northern Montana prairie.
Since its remodel several years ago, the barn is well insulated from the extreme weather outside, be it over a hundred degrees at the height of summer or negative forty in winter. What we didn’t consider were the safflower seeds themselves.
Each safflower seed contains not only the oil we’re extracting, it also contains moisture. The safflower presses in The Oil Barn run almost constantly and this moisture can add up fast. As you can imagine, the humidity in the press room in the barn can change drastically before too long.
High humidity in an enclosed area can lead to any number of issues. The most prominent in The Oil Barn is the buildup of moisture on the floor and even the walls and a slippery work floor can be dangerous. But there’s also the possibility of rust and corrosion on the presses themselves.
To offset this buildup during the summer, Andrew will open windows to help ventilate the press room. But during the winter that’s not really an option, at least not comfortably. So in the enclosed room, the humidity builds up and condenses on the cool walls and ceiling and then drips onto the floor. This problem can be prevented by the dehumidifier.
With the dehumidifier we can control the humidity in the press room caused by the excretion of moisture from the safflower seeds as the presses work and prevent condensation from forming and causing more problems. Needless to say, both Andrew and I were grateful for such a simple solution when the issue first arose.