In the Texas Panhandle, humidity isn’t normally something we think about. We are used to hot and dry summers. However, this year has been a different story with many parts of Texas flooding from the excess rain. Some days this summer could even be described as muggy. And it’s an El Nino year so we can expect even more moisture coming up this fall and winter. This goes to show that buildings, especially steel buildings, need to be built with any type of weather conditions in mind if they are meant to last for many years.
However, it’s not just outside conditions that cause moisture problems within a steel building. Fluctuating temperatures from heating and air conditioning, body heat from humans and animals, cooking, and hot water usage can also be culprits.
Protection against humidity needs to be implemented from the very start. Insulation, ventilation, and the right heating and air conditioning system will make all the difference. Together, they will make sure your steel building retains the correct moisture levels for the duration of its life.
But first, what can happen when humidity rises too high inside a steel building? When water starts to accumulate on interior surfaces and in hidden areas, disaster can happen. The water eventually seeps into the walls and creates the perfect environment for mold to grow and flourish. It will rot any organic building materials such as wood. Once the moisture reaches the metal components, it will cause corrosion that will significantly reduce the steel’s strength.
In addition to the problems listed above, excess humidity can cause odors, poor indoor air quality, and it can encourage insect infestations. Clearly, moisture is a problem and it needs to be prevented. Here’s what needs to be included during the design process in order to discourage humidity issues down the road.
Every nook and cranny of a steel building needs to be properly insulated in order to prevent humidity. Insulation reduces heat transfer and it acts as a vapor barrier. It helps to reduce the large fluctuations in temperature that can lead to moisture buildup. Choosing an experienced metal building company is key here. Someone who knows the area that you’re building in will know how to properly insulate your building. Insulation can even reduce utility bills by up to 50%, according to Rhino Steel Buildings.
Ventilation basically means that the air is always moving and this is imperative to reducing humidity. If a building is already constructed, it is best to open overhead doors and windows and to install fans. However, if you are still in the design phase, you need to include vents, especially in the roof where moisture tends to get trapped. Ventilation is a natural and inexpensive way to protect against excess humidity.
A proper HVAC system
Your HVAC system needs to be the right fit for the size of your building. Anything too big or too small could cause problems like high humidity levels and high energy costs. Again, this involves hiring an experienced metal building company that will know which HVAC systems needs to go in your building.
There are many other things your metal building company will do to protect your investment such as installing vapor barriers and properly sealing seams. The main lesson we have learned here today is to think about humidity from the start and to hire a qualified, excellent metal building company.