How to Spot a Humidity Problem in Your Business Building
Maintaining a proper level of humidity in your business building is necessary not only for indoor comfort but to prevent damage to the structure of the building and the devices, materials, and other objects kept indoors. A humidity problem in your commercial space can make the area uncomfortable for employees and customers. It can damage electronic equipment, paper files, and merchandise. In the worst cases, it can even pose a threat to health. Here are some ways to spot a humidity problem in your building before it gets out of hand. The Nature of Humidity Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air relative to how much moisture the air can hold before it becomes saturated. It is measured by percentages, with 100 percent humidity meaning the air cannot hold any more moisture. In most cases, an indoor humidity level between 30 and 60 percent is sufficient to maintain comfort and prevent any moisture-related problems. However, moisture levels above that can lead to one or more humidity-based problems such as:
Mold and mildew growth
Property damage and damage to the building’s structure
Increased numbers of insects and vermin
Increases in asthma, allergies, or respiratory problems triggered by mold Signs of Humidity Problems Carefully inspect your commercial property for signs of humidity problems. If you identify any of the following occurring in your business building, you may need to take steps to reduce indoor humidity. Contact your HVAC professional for information on humidity control and for help finding and installing equipment such as dehumidifiers.
Condensation: Condensation occurs when moist air come into contact with a surface that is colder than the temperature of the air. Water in the air is transferred to the cold surface. Condensation often occurs on windows, pipes, and similar surfaces. Uncontrolled condensation can sometimes occur in areas such as attics and crawl spaces, creating substantial accumulations of moisture and the problems that go with them.
Water leaks: Water leaks can increase the humidity levels inside a commercial building. Leaks in the roof or windows, plumbing pipes or fixtures, or from equipment or appliances can create areas of standing water. These leaks can also dampen carpets, drywall, and other material, which can also contribute to higher indoor humidity.
Mold and mildew: If moisture problems persist, they will create an environment in which mold and mildew can grow easily. Mold and mildew are unsightly and sometimes difficult to get rid of. Mold spores can contribute to asthma and allergy attacks. In the worse cases, some types of mold can be a threat to the health of employees and customers.
Damage to papers, books, electronics, or similar objects: Excess moisture in the air can cause damage to books, paper files, electronic equipment, computers, and similar objects. Damage to papers and books can be obvious, especially if the paper absorbs enough moisture to wrinkle and warp. Mold can quickly grow on damp paper. Unexplainable problems with computers, office equipment, or other devices could be the result of moisture causing damage to the electronic components of the devices.
Damage to flooring, paneling, or furniture: In addition to paper and electronics, excess moisture in your commercial space can cause damage to flooring, paneling, furniture, and even the framework of the building. Wood can warp, crack, or split when there is too much moisture in the air. Wallpaper can start to peel and drywall can be damaged. Moisture can affect the insulation in your walls and ceilings, causing it to lose the ability to resist the flow of heat. Again, mold in the insulation or other areas can occur as a result of high indoor humidity. Our goal is to help educate our customers about plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, fire protection, and alarm systems in mechanical, commercial, and residential settings. For more information on how to locate and identify humidity problems in your commercial building, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!