Humidity-Controlled Cold Room: Tips and Tricks

Building a humidity-controlled cold room can be time-consuming and costly. This is because the humidity is an invisible parameter that impacts cold rooms in subtle ways which often go overlooked for long periods. If not dealt with in a timely manner, it can lead to much higher detrimental costs. For instance, humidity if unchecked can cause condensation and eventually frost and ice build-up. While there will always be some level of humidity entering a cold room, to a large extent it can be controlled. On the other hand, many professionals have found ways to deal with day-to-day condensation and ice build-up issues.

In order to build a humidity-controlled cold room, one must first learn how humidity impacts cold rooms.

How Does Humidity Impact Cold Rooms?

Humidity build-up is dependent on the basic fundamentals of physics whereby cold air sinks and hot air rises. Additionally, this phenomenon is impacted another fundamental whereby moisture-rich environments tend to permeate dry air to balance it out. Therefore, humidity builds up within cold rooms is due to the access channels or doors that cause hot air to rise and take moisture with it into the cold room’s dry and cold atmosphere. By doing so, the hot air eventually condenses to form frost and ice.

While humidity or moisture cannot be identified via the naked eye, there are tangible results or symptoms of humidity if left unchecked for prolonged periods. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Ice build-up on fixtures and other equipment within the cold room.
  • Moisture build-up on door walls.
  • Icy surfaces with icicles forming on cold surfaces
  • Moist or wet surfaces of stored products.
  • More than usually misty air conditions within the cold room
  • Higher than usual electricity bill.
  • Molding and mildew forming around the door and other access points

If any of these conditions are left unchecked for prolonged periods, there can be long-term detrimental costs. Humidity is an anomaly within cold rooms, therefore it is important to take necessary precautions to ensure make sure it is eliminated. Here are some common effects of humidity if left unchecked:

  • High electricity bills as the refrigeration system work overtime to obtain an optimal temperature within the cold room.
  • Condensation can cause ice build-up on the coils within the refrigeration system thereby damaging it.
  • The refrigeration system works like a well-oiled machine therefore, if one part is compromised, it can damage others as well.
  • Replacing different parts of the refrigeration system can be costly.
  • Molding and mildew can create unhygienic conditions within the cold room
  • Long-term humidity can cause issues with the inbuilt insulation mechanism of the cold room.

How to Counter Humidity?

While there will always be a certain level of humidity present within cold rooms, users can still take certain steps to control excess humidity. Additionally, humidity impacts every stored product differently therefore humidity levels must be continuously monitored to ensure their shelf life. For instance, most medicine cold room storage facilities require the humidity level within the cold room to be below 65%. However, this can vary depending on the individual requirements of the medicines as some may require the humidity level to be below 45% even. Building a humidity-controlled cold room can ensure the longevity of the cold room and increase the shelf life of the stored products.

Here are some common steps that users and cold room builders can take to reduce moisture from within cold rooms and help build humidity-controlled cold rooms:

  • Controlling the Passage of Hot Air:

    One way to control the level of humidity within cold rooms is by controlling the passage of hot airflow into the cold room. For starters, users are recommended to install cold room curtains to help reduce airflow from outside. These vinyl curtains hang from roof to floor and help manage the internal temperature without compromising on accessibility. Moreover, these are most helpful in cold rooms that experience high traffic. Another way to help control the passage of hot air is by ensuring that the internal insulation mechanisms are adequately in place. If the insulation has been compromised or misused in certain places, hot air can easily travel inside. Finally, experts recommend limiting access points into the cold room which will automatically limit the amount of hot air that permeates within.

    While these measures help control the passage of hot air to some extent, they are not designed to prevent it from entering 100%. It is important to keep a close eye on the above-mentioned signs and symptoms so that excess humidity build-up can be prevented.

  • Utilizing Industrial-Grade Dehumidifiers:

    If the above-mentioned measures to control the passage of hot air to control the level of humidity fail, then users are recommended to invest in industrial-grade humidifiers specifically made for cold rooms. Dehumidifiers are electrical devices that help process the air within the intended area. This is done by converting the moisture particles in the atmosphere into water particles and then adequately removing it from the area. These devices are considered the most efficient means of removing moisture and humidity from within cold rooms. However, they can be costly to install and have an overhead electricity cost as well.

    There are different kinds of dehumidifiers available for cold rooms. These are often chosen based on different factors such as:

    • Temperature
    • Room capacity
    • Present humidity levels
    • Products housed within the cold room.

    For instance, if your cold room has a preset temperature of 10 degrees celsius then you may need a desiccant type dehumidifier. On the other hand, you can also utilize online calculation tools to help you choose the right humidifier for your cold room.

Conclusion

A humidity-controlled cold room will go a long way in determining the overall utility and efficacy of your cold room. By taking the right preliminary measures such as cold room curtains, you can help reduce the levels of humidity in your cold room. However, these measures are not 100% effective and may not apply to every cold room. On the other hand, industrial grade dehumidifiers made specifically for cold rooms are much more effective and reliable.

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