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Humidity & Moisture Problems in Warehouses & Industrial Spaces

Warehouses and industrial spaces carry significant risk for accumulating moisture, which can wreak havoc on the interior structure, machinery and inventory. Cracked windows, door gaps and openings where warm air can enter are the biggest culprits for humidity and moisture problems inside industrial spaces and warehouses.

Humidity is typically worse at night when surface materials – floors, ceilings and machinery – reach their dew point when the warm air cools, causing moisture accumulation. Plus, the accumulation of humidity inside manufacturing plants and working environments can deplete employee morale and performance.

After finding out your warehouse or industrial workspace has been compromised by excess moisture, you will want to immediately remedy the situation.

What Damage Can Be Caused By Excess Humidity?

Many businesses can often overlook the importance of maintain the correct relative humidity within warehouses. But when you consider that these spaces contain all the stock, then allowing it to be put at risk from excess moisture is jeopardising the main framework of the business.

Humidity in warehouse areas can lead to mildew and mould growth on products, shelves, boxes and walls. Condensation causes rust and accelerates corrosion of metal parts, but can also lead to increased insurance costs due to customer claims or returns. Daytime relative humidity can be in the 30 per cent range and it can easily increase to 70-80 per cent during the night. High temperatures can also lead to spoilage of products, especially those sensitive to environmental conditions such as pharmaceuticals or foodstuffs. When the quality and purity of the products rely on correct storage, it is critical that a warehouse temperature and humidity monitoring system is employed.

Mould can attack most common materials used in warehouse packing materials, such as wooden crates and cardboard boxes. Eliminating all sources of food for mould is also an almost impossible task, but the two important environmental conditions are temperature and relative humidity. Typically, humidity levels above 70 per cent result in larger outbreaks of mould. Controlling the humidity is essential in the control of mould growth. Mould also prefers warmer temperatures. Cold climates, freezers, refrigerators and cold storage can help to reduce mould growth.

How to Reduce Humidity in Warehouses

Warehouse dehumidifiers can significantly reduce the problem associated with humidity and moisture, providing supplemental airflow throughout factories and warehouses when moisture becomes a concern.

Before making any selection of what is the best industrial dehumidifier for your warehouse or industrial space, it is important to consider the actual size of the space. If you are unsure, then it may be a good idea to get an expert in to review the design and layout of the building before purchasing your dehumidification system. Not only will you need to analyse factors like where your staff will be standing, you also need to take into consideration what type of stock will be stored and where. This will make a big difference to where you need to maintain temperatures more specifically, but an expert will be able to suggest the best placement and equipment to increase efficiency, as well as save money.

There are two main types of dehumidifiers - refrigerant and desiccant. Both work well at eliminating humidity, depending on your specific conditions. Refrigerant dehumidifiers work by pulling hot, humid air across cooled coils filled with refrigerant. When the hot air hits the cooler coils, condensation is formed where it is collected internally or drained. Many industrial dehumidifiers have an internal pump that allows water to be pumped vertically into a collection area. Models with automatic humidity control or an onboard humidistat allow for you to set your ideal conditions – drier, normal or humid – and allow the dehumidifier to monitor the indoor humidity, running only when needed. Refrigerant dehumidifiers work well under standard conditions where the ambient temperature is stable and moisture conditions do not worsen.

Desiccant dehumidifiers work a little different from their refrigerant counterparts, as they use an adsorbent gel and desiccant wheel to capture moisture from the air. The adsorbent gel is carefully rotated on the desiccant wheel, slowly turning while the gel is warmed by reactivated heat, dumping the moisture into a water tank or reservoir. One of the main benefits of this system is that no frost is accumulation because these dehumidifiers collect water via adsorption instead over cooling condenser coils. Without cooling coils and water adsorption in the desiccant wheel, the desiccant dehumidifiers are optimal for use where temperatures can drop as low as 0˚ Celsius.