Moisture can be a building’s biggest enemy. It can damage the structure of the building and it can cause mold and mildew to form. It has been estimated that uncontrolled moisture can account for up to 80% of a property’s premature wear.
Commissioning agents can determine possible causes of moisture and ensure that systems are running to keep moisture out and reduce humidity within a building. This article will review the dangers of moisture and how the commissioning process can keep it under control.
Why Moisture Control is Important
If moisture issues get out of control, it can cause the following issues:
- Flaking paint
- Staining on the walls
- Rusting of steel fixtures
- Accelerated deterioration of furnishings and wood products
- Respiratory issues in occupants that can be caused by mold or Sick Building Syndrome
Where Moisture Control is Especially Important
Moisture control is important in all buildings, but it needs to be paid special attention to in:
- Printing plants
- Textile mills
- Buildings located in hot, humid climates
- Buildings that use innovative and complex materials
Strategies for Moisture Control
Excess moisture in a building can come in one of two forms, liquid water, or water vapor.
Liquid water can come from many sources including rain and snow that penetrates the structure of buildings, groundwater that gets into the foundation and leaking pipes and equipment located in the structure. These issues can usually be solved with the proper building practices.
Water vapor is defined as inappropriate condensation of water within the structure. It is typically caused by pressure induced diffusion via exterior sources, vapor that gets in through the ventilation system’s induced airflow, evaporation from wet surfaces and processes, and mechanical components like humidifiers. This type of moisture is difficult to identify during early stages.
The building must be designed to be impenetrable to all moisture sources. It is common to find discontinuities in component connections and bridging that can make structures more susceptible to moisture. It’s possible that other defects can occur to let moisture in.
Commissioning agents will do a thorough review of static elements while inspecting the envelope of the building. They will determine possible points of moisture and work to eliminate possible damage by:
- Using vapor retarders to minimize differences in vapor pressure
- Eliminating unvented combustion processes
- Ensuring careful construction is used for optimal pressure relationships and the minimization of outdoor air filtration
- Eliminating cold surfaces in the building envelope
Steps must be taken to ensure rh (relative humidity) levels stay below 60%. This can be done with dehumidification in small areas.
Larger areas will require replacing humid air with dry air. This requires the air supply to be dehumidified as it is passed through a cooling coil or over a desiccant material.
Commissioning is a great way to keep your building safe from moisture and all the damage it can cause. If you are looking for top notch commissioning service, 5D’s is the way to go. We have extensive experience troubleshooting complex systems and we strive to provide our clients with the best service.
Call us today for all your commissioning needs.