With summer around the corner, David Simkins, director of industrial services for Polygon US Corp., the North Andover, Mass.-based provider of property-damage-restoration, temporary-humidity-control, and property-performance services, offers four tips for controlling moisture in buildings and keeping maintenance and operation costs from skyrocketing:
Conduct regularly scheduled maintenance. Regular surveillance of HVAC and dehumidification equipment is crucial. Units need to be balanced and operating at 100-percent efficiency at all times. Do not ignore worn belts, high-amp-draw motors, and warm bearings because they will be the weak points of the system when heat and humidity return.
Keep the facility well-sealed. Ensure doors leading to the outside do not remain open. Tight weather stripping is important, as is making sure there are no holes on the exterior of a building. Revolving doors, as opposed to standard “open-and-shut” doors, help to reduce humidity levels. If building walls are constructed of cinder block, cover the porous surface with a coat of vapor-retardant paint to reduce the internal humidity load and keep the facility comfortable.
Reduce light. Light shining through walls and around windows and doors can cause moisture problems. If this is the case, seal the area, and minimize the source.
Control outdoor air. Outdoor air is required to meet indoor-air-quality (IAQ) standards, but it needs to be controlled. The best way to meet IAQ standards and maintain control is through the use of a makeup-air system coupled with a desiccant dehumidifier. An air-quality sensor (carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide) also is highly recommended. Air monitoring is the most effective means of reducing operating costs while responding quickly to environmental changes.