How to Control Humidity In Your Business
Scientifically speaking, humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air — but we all know it as the thing that makes us feel uncomfortable and sticky while ruining any shot we had at a good hair day.
No one likes excess humidity outdoors, but it can be even more problematic when it’s indoors…especially if you’re a business owner who has to focus on keeping your employees and customers happy.
Fortunately, if your business suffers from excess indoor humidity, there are things you can do to fix it. Read more below.
Need commercial HVAC services right now? We offer 24/7 emergency service. Contact us today!
Can you have “too much” humidity?
Yes! It is possible to have too much humidity.
According to the EPA, mold growth ramps up at 60 percent humidity. It’s recommended to keep the humidity of any indoor area between 30 and 50 percent.
You can test your business’s humidity levels with a humidity gauge or meter, you can find one for around $50 at your local hardware store.
If your business’s humidity is 50 percent, keep in mind that you’re on the high side of the spectrum – and the humidity level in your business can change drastically over the day as your HVAC system cycles on and off. If your humidity is towards the higher end with your HVAC cycling on, you’ll still want to address the humidity before it leads to mold growth in your business.
Signs your business has a humidity problem
- — Mold
- — Condensation on windows or glass doors (also condensation on cake display cases)
- — Mold growing near the HVAC system’s intake
What increases humidity?
- — Combustion appliances like stoves
- — Cooking
- — Steam
- — Moisture generating appliances like dryers
- — Mopping, or other cleaning techniques that involve a lot of water, with the HVAC system turned off
If you rent your location, you’ll want to alert your landlord to your humidity problems.
If you own the location, even more reason to get an inspector on site right away.
Often, mold growth and high humidity can be caused by leaking roofs, improperly draining pipes (especially pipes inside wall cavities), leaking fire sprinkler systems, poorly vented appliances. You’ll want a building inspector to be sure that all of the vapor barriers are undamaged (or that there are any vapor barriers).
Another common cause of humidity problems are pools of water underneath a building’s crawl space. Thoroughly inspect your building to be sure that the cause of mold growth, or high humidity is not from the building’s structural integrity.
When do you need professional help?
“Determination of whether [the substance] is mold can be made only by an expert” says the EPA, so schedule a service with one of Quick Servant’s licensed HVAC professionals to handle any potential mold situation.
According to the EPA, if you have identified mold growth you should have the air ducts cleaned by a professional right away to prevent further contamination. Your friendly Quick Servant HVAC team member will be also be able to help you identify, and repair the source of your business’s humidity problem.
Note: You’ll want to look at the insulation around your air ducts as well if you spot a mold problem. If the insulation is moldy, you will have to remove it and replace it, the EPA says there is no effective way to clean insulation. Any spores, like growths on your insulation, will lead to the mold returning.
How to Control Humidity in Your Business
Inspect your HVAC System
One of your HVAC system’s jobs is actually to remove moisture from the air before that air is circulated through your business. If you have a sudden humidity problem, that could mean that your HVAC system is not functioning as well as it was before.
According to the EPA, an overflowing or improperly draining condensate drain pain is another common cause of high humidity levels.
Do an audit on all of the AC grates, ductwork, and exhaust fans located inside of your business.
Make sure that all of the ducts are sealed properly. Stick your hand up in front of all of the AC grates, and be sure that air is only flowing through the grate – and not escaping outside of the sides.
Cycling air is the key to reducing humidity, so you might want to consider adding more ventilation to your building. If you have a crawlspace, it can be helpful to add exterior ventilation through the basement – old air will flow out, and new conditioned air will be moved through your building from your upstairs HVAC system.
If your business’s humidity problem is centered around a kitchen, you’ll want to inspect your appliances and be sure that all of them are ventilating properly.
Make repairs as needed, or consider adding additional ventilation or exhaust fans in your kitchen.
Look at Dehumidifier Solutions
If you have an issue with humidity across your entire business, maybe adding a dehumidification system to your HVAC is a good solution. That way you can get even coverage across all of your indoor spaces.
When you’re having your building inspected, be sure the inspector looks at any crawl spaces if you have them.
The EPA reports that many humidity issues are caused by water that is pooled in your crawl spaces, sometimes sitting on top of the vapor barrier.
Water build up in the crawl space is not always from a leak, but sometimes from condensation formed by the colder temperature of the crawl space.
The upstairs area will be dry, but the temperature difference of a slightly colder crawl space area can put the downstairs space below the dew point – leaving your pipes and walls covered with condensation. When you have your building inspected, be sure to take a look at the crawl spaces as well.
Humidity in your business is no laughing matter. A space that is too humid can quickly become a petri dish of mold growth, and a health hazard that potentially shuts your business down!
Control Humidity In Your Business With Quick Servant
The solution could be as simple as adding an extra dehumidifier to the problem area and increasing ventilation. Schedule an appointment with Quick Servant, so one of our friendly licensed HVAC professionals can help you identify the source of your humidity problem, and create a plan of attack specifically for your business space.