Bloody noses, cracked lips, itchy throats, excessive dry skin, dry or cracked furniture, allergy flare-ups, flu symptoms…that’s a list of some of the signs that humidity may be too low in your office!
Clearly, humidity can not only impact the comfort of your tenants, but it can also impact their health and safety, too. That’s why we’re taking a bit of a closer look at how you can best manage moisture levels, no matter the season.
In part one of two-part series on managing moisture in your building, we talked about how you can begin to take the steps necessary for year-round comfort and humidity control.
In part two, we’re examining other approaches you can be aware of to achieve balanced humidity. Together, with a combination of all these approaches, you can maximize comfort in your business or building.
Leverage a High-Capacity Humidifier or Dehumidifier
In our last post, we pointed out the need to regularly watch moisture levels in your building as a first step. After that, we recommend looking at your system itself since it could be the driver of how much moisture is present in your space. Next, we made sure to point out how maintenance can be an overlooked, yet critical, part of your multi-pronged approach to managing humidity.
Once those steps are complete, humidification and dehumidification can be considered.
It may be obvious to point out, but once you know the humidity issues you are facing, adjust the humidity levels as best you can with a humidifier or dehumidifier.
With high humidity in a building, you’ll use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity. With lower-than-desirable humidity, add humidity back into the air through humidification.
Not to be forgotten is airflow as a part of this picture: lowering airflow will reduce humidity, too. This is one of the first steps you can take to see if you can better manage moisture and comfort levels. The goal will be to have these systems run, as needed to maintain safe and healthy levels of humidity in your business.
Turn to Your Building Design
Comfort levels and indoor air quality can be greatly impacted by a high-capacity, high-efficiency ventilating dehumidifier and/or a humidifier, but sometimes a solution will need to be implemented not just at the HVAC system level, but it will be at the building level (1).
After all, no matter how great your high-capacity dehumidifier is, if excessive moisture keeps getting into your building regularly, you’re not going to have much luck in combating the space’s humidity levels. Also, some buildings have added complexities such as unique basements, crawlspaces, or other areas that may need a bit more attention or a supplemental strategy to control.
You may need to take steps to look at how the air is sealed in your building and whether or not your ventilation is as optimized as it can be.
It’s going to vary for every facility—and it also depends on how that facility is being used—but a few of the steps we would take at the building level include:
- Seeing if and where unwanted moisture is collecting
- Ensuring moisture is entering or exiting the building in an optimal way
- Looking into any leaky areas such as the roof or any walls
- Seeing how doors are sealed
- Looking into issues such as landscape and/or irrigation and its impact on moisture or water getting into the facility
- Examining leaks from plumbing systems
- Ensuring that showers, cooking areas and laundry are set up in a way to optimize ventilation (1)
Get More Aggressive with Structural Changes or Additions
If and when needed, even greater measures can be taken. For example, this can include changing plant location, concentrating plants in an area intentionally, or adding plants in general (which release moisture vapor into the air). In general, that’s not going to be a major difference-maker, but it can be adjustment that helps.
Be sure your roof is inspected; you never know when loose shingles or other issues are resulting in leaks that are bringing in moisture to the building.
Depending on the setup, you may need to waterproof basement walls in your building, I you haven’t already. Concrete basement walls can be a source of added humidity, so waterproofing them from the outside can make a major difference (2) at times.
You can create materials that inform and educate tenants on the need to ensure exhaust fans are being in used in any areas such as bathrooms/showers, kitchens, or laundry rooms (2).
Even things like your downspouts and gutters can impact moisture levels; For example, you may need to adjust downspouts so they can carry water away from the building (2).
Another adjustment that may be worth the investment is moving away from carpet, since it can retain moisture. Dust mites, which can thrive in high humidity, love carpet and you can potentially do a lot to improve indoor air quality with removing certain carpet in your facility.
Control Humidity All Year-Long for Greater Comfort
All in all, a multi-pronged approach is really what helps you monitor and manage humidity throughout the year. That includes strategies like making sure your system itself is operating as it should, high-capacity dehumidifiers/humidifiers, ventilation, proper use of air conditioning, proper tools to monitor humidity levels, weather stripping, caulking, efficient and effective insulation, and informing tenants of what they can do to reduce adding or reduce moisture in the building.
Last but not least: regular maintenance of your HVAC system is critical in the fight to improve indoor air quality and to protect the health of your occupants, too.
Call Greater Comfort for Commercial HVAC Contracting
We’re here to help you find HVAC solutions so you can have reliable comfort in your office, facility, or building. Whatever your commercial HVAC needs are, know that Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning is here for you.
We’ve installed, maintained and repaired more than 35,000 HVAC systems—and counting! Call us 24/hours a day at 859-491-4915 or contact us here.