There is no doubt that 2018 was a banner year for wet conditions across the country. These conditions can be very challenging to manage too, regardless of housing type or climate zone. The team at Ultra-Aire has been busy helping builders, architects, engineers, homeowners, property managers, developers, contractors, and even the U.S. Government, address and solve issues linked to elevated humidity levels. While there are always several contributing factors that lead to moisture buildup, multifamily housing can pose a unique challenge due to the number of occupants living in a smaller space. Case in point – military housing.
In the summer of 2018, our team was contacted by a southeastern military base working to address reoccurring mold issues in their barracks. The total scope of the project consisted of six buildings, all built less than five years ago on slab foundations, and each containing 300 rooms. The single-room barracks also included their own bathroom and housed three people at a time for six week periods. Persistent, elevated humidity levels, beginning in the spring and lasting through the fall, typically resulted in minor mold remediation throughout the summer. This is because conventional HVAC systems struggle to control part-load humidity during the shoulder seasons when the temperature is not warm enough for the cooling system to run extended periods, yet the relative humidity is still high. This was compound by the ventilation system bringing outdoor humid air to dilute indoor air pollutants.
To further complicate things, there were extended periods of time when the barracks were unoccupied, which meant air conditioning was not needed for comfort. Unfortunately, they were having to run the air conditioning just to control the relative humidity.
The Ultra-Aire MD33 In-Wall Dehumidifier was the perfect solution; the unit fit directly into the wall cavity of each room and could be tied to the existing plumbing in the mechanical closet. In the end, it was as simple as setting the internal digital dehumidistat to 55% and letting the MD33 control the RH, regardless of whether the barracks were occupied or not. Not only have they saved money on ongoing mold remediation and air conditioning runtime when the barracks are unoccupied, the residents are comfortable as well.