Maximize Humidity Control This Year–Whether You Own Commercial or Rental Properties
Proper indoor comfort, whether in a residential or commercial setting, requires a level of indoor air quality and relative humidity that’s acceptable to the occupants of the building. Relative humidity is a measure of how much moisture is in the air. By using techniques for effective humidity control, an indoor relative humidity level of 30 to 60 percent can be maintained to keep a business facility or residential rental unit comfortable.
Humidity control, however, is necessary for more than indoor comfort. When humidity levels get too high, the possibility for mold growth increases significantly. Mold is a natural and common part of our environment and is necessary for the decomposition of organic material. Without mold, dead animals, rotten fruits and vegetables, and similar material would accumulate and contaminate our surroundings.
Mold is necessary to the function of the natural world, but when it gets inside our homes, businesses and rental units, it’s at best a nuisance and at worst a threat to health. Mold is unsightly and, once established, is hard to remove. In some cases, mold can cause serious respiratory problems and other health issues.
Humidity control for commercial facilities and rental properties
Some attention to HVAC system operation can be effective at reducing mold growth and providing effective humidity control.
- Install high-efficiency air conditioning units: Humidity control is part of the function of your air conditioning system. High-efficiency units are much more effective at keeping indoor humidity at acceptable levels than their low-efficiency counterparts. Look for units with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 14 or above. SEER is an industry-accepted measure of efficiency, and the higher the SEER number, the more efficient the A/C unit will be.
- Make sure your air conditioners are properly sized: Sizing an air conditioner refers to selecting a unit with enough capacity to cool your business or living spaces to the level you prefer. If your air conditioner is oversized, it won’t be able to remove enough humidity from your indoor spaces. This happens because its functioning cycles won’t be long enough for adequate humidity removal. Consult with your HVAC expert and get a cooling load calculation to make sure you know the exact size air conditioner you need for your particular spaces.
- Limit A/C fan operation: Keep your air conditioner’s fan setting to “auto” rather than constantly on. If the fan runs continually, the moisture that accumulates on the unit’s coils won’t have the chance to drain away before being blown back into your home. Keeping the fan set to “auto” means it will shut off at the time as or shortly after the compressor.
- Schedule preventive maintenance: Regular maintenance is important to keeping your air conditioner running effectively and efficiently, but it can also help keep mold under control. Frequent air filter changes mean that mold spores caught in the filter are less likely to be dislodged and returned to your indoor environment. Clean filters help the system run better, reduce malfunctions and ensure proper humidity removal.
In addition to these techniques for use at the air conditioner, indoor humidity control can be improved in the following ways:
- Find and fix water leaks in your plumbing system. This removes excess water and reduces the chance of unseen moisture accumulation.
- Improve indoor ventilation by running kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans to remove moisture.
- Clean up spills or floods as quickly as possible. Wet carpets, paneling and drywall are prime environments for mold growth.
- Use a dehumidifier, either a room-size unit or a whole-home system, to reduce humidity to acceptable levels.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on humidity control and how it can restrict mold growth in your home or commercial facility, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!