Condensation Issues

Properly controlling condensation in metal building systems is critical to maintaining the thermal performance of the insulation system, and serves to prolong the service life of the building components. Condensation can occur on any surface within the building envelope that is at or below the dew point temperature of the ambient air within the structure. To put it simply,  when warm moist air comes in contact with a cold surface, such as framing members, windows and other building accessories, it cools to the temperature below its dew point and condensation forms.

 

A huge key to avoiding condensation is to ensure the components of the building envelope do not drop below the dew point temperature. The professional staff at ICRS knows what to look for, and have been effective in saving our customers thousands of dollars over the years by detecting unwanted condensation. It is also important to realize that the signs of visible condensation can be visible AND invisible. Invisible/concealed condensation occurs when moisture vapor has breached the exposed surfaces and condenses within the walls, roof or mechanical system insulation. Some signs of concealed condensation include stains, rust, mildew on walls or ceilings, delaminating surfaces, and damp insulation.


Another factor to realize is that all buildings require some level of ventilation. A lack of ventilation can create an uncomfortable working condition through elevated heat levels, excessive humidity and stale air. Typical methods for moving air include exhaust and supply fans, ridge ventilators and louvers. Letting the outside air into the building and controlling the exhaust of warm moist air out of the building is one effective way to reduce condensation and is an essential part of the building HVAC design that should not be skipped.


Most buildings today are more energy efficient and tighter than ever before. As such, it becomes important to involve one of ICRS’s mechanical engineers to help ensure the metal building has a properly sized HVAC system.


Find out much more information on metal buildings and condensation issues from the Metal Building Manufacturers Association. Here's a Condensation Fact Sheet they produced - click here to download


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