High humidity in a building can lead to a variety of problems including mold growth, corrosion, rot, insect proliferation, and water damage to materials. We take a multi-disciplinary approach to solving humidity problems in facilities.
For resolving humidity problems, we bring together skills from the professions of industrial hygiene, engineering, and building science to find and correct the problem. Typically, an industrial hygienist will identify the nature and extent of the mold problem, if the cause is high humidity, our engineers will resolve the humidity problem, and then our industrial hygiene staff will design and oversee the needed mold remediation.
In hot humid climates humidity inside buildings is typically controlled by the air conditioning system. However, air conditioning equipment is controlled by a thermostat to maintain comfortable temperatures in the conditioned space rather than directly controlling humidity. Despite the fact that it is not being controlled to dehumidify, air conditioning usually dehumidifies as well as cools – but not always. This scheme, of indirectly controlling humidity by controlling temperature, can come completely undone if too much humid outside air is drawn in, or is pulled into wall cavities, or if an interior vapor retarder, such as vinyl wall covering, traps water vapor behind it, or the cooling coil does not get cool enough.
Resolution of a high humidity situation usually starts with our industrial hygienists measuring temperature, humidity, monitoring cooling coil operations, measuring air flow where needed, and inspecting for the consequences of high humidity such as mold growth or insect proliferation. Our mechanical engineers and building scientists work with data provided by the industrial hygienists to determine the root cause of the high humidity condition, be it a building issue such as unintended ventilation and infiltration of humid air, or mal-operation of the air conditioning or ventilation systems.
Once the root cause of the humidity condition has been determined our architectural and engineering staff design the needed corrective measures, prepare bidding documents, assist the owner in securing a contractor, and then monitor the work of the contractor to make sure the problem is resolved. If mold remediation is required, our industrial hygiene and engineering staff collaborate to produce the necessary bidding and contract documents, monitor the performance of the remediation contractor and perform clearance testing.
Here are some examples of past projects that illustrate our approach.
- Evaluation of Mold Amplification and Moisture Dynamics in University Dormitory
- Water Intrusion in Community Library Building
- Ventilation Rates Determined by IAQ Studies
- Water Damage Analysis Improves Building HVAC Performance