Humidity control is a challenge faced by many commercial construction companies. When left unchecked, humidity can contribute to mold and mildew while also damaging the building’s structure in the process. Thankfully, though, there are ways to control humidity on construction sites.
What Is Humidity and How Does Affect Construction Sites?
Water is all around us in the form of moisture vapor, known as humidity. The term “relative humidity” is used to describe the amount of moisture in the air relative to what the air can hold as its current temperature. A relative humidity of 50 percent, for instance, means the air is holding half the amount of moisture vapor that it can hold at its current temperature. As the relative humidity on a construction site increases, it can pose serious problems.
Some of the most common problems associated with high humidity – defined as a relative humidity of 60 percent or higher – include the following:
• Paint damage
• Degradation of drywall and related building materials
• Wood swelling and warpage
• Corrosion of metal materials
• Electrical system failure
• Increased risk of respiratory ailments
Prevent the Intrusion of Water
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), preventing the intrusion of water is the first step to controlling humidity problems. Whether it’s melted snow, frost, rain runoff or wet materials, the presence of water contributes to high humidity. As the water evaporates, it turns into moisture vapor that’s able to saturate walls and surrounding structures. So, construction companies should use caution to prevent water from entering the building or site on which they are working.
Once the HVAC system and exterior walls are constructed, using the building’s air conditioning can also keep humidity levels in check. Air conditioning systems have two primary goals: to lower the ambient temperature and reduce humidity levels. Even if the building doesn’t have working air conditioning, construction companies may still be able to use window units, which function the same way.
Perhaps the most effective solution for controlling humidity is a dehumidifier. This device lives up to its namesake by lowering the humidity level of the surrounding space. It works by extracting moisture from the air, either storing this water in a tank or draining it through a hose. There are even some dehumidifiers designed specifically for commercial applications.
It’s nearly impossible to remove all moisture vapor from the air, and that’s okay. Some moisture vapor is perfectly fine. When humidity levels remain elevated for a prolonged length of time, though, it can cause serious problems. These tips can help construction companies better control the humidity at their job sites.
As a commercial installer, UBS is a leader in metal stud framing. Contact us for a quote on your next office building, high rise or apartment complex. 303.466.7200.