Every year moisture intrusion into buildings causes billions of dollars in property damage. In addition, moisture in buildings in the number one cause of microbial (mold and mildew) growth. Moisture enters buildings in a number of ways. Rainwater penetrates through leaks in walls, floors, roofs, windows and doors. These entrance locations come from improper design, construction and maintenance.

Moisture also enters the building from improper designed and/or constructed vapor barriers in walls, roofs and floors. This condition is normally aggravated by the use of air conditioning and construction in hot and humid climates. Moisture can move across the walls by the difference in vapor pressure. The outside air during the humid periods of the year has a higher vapor pressure than the cool indoor building air. This higher pressure forces the moisture in the outdoor air to move across the building envelope.

Professional designers recognize that moisture cannot be completely stopped in today’s modern buildings. A method of adequate moisture removal must be designed into the building envelope systems in conjunction with adequate capacity in the building’s air conditioning system. This is important because the one building system that can remove moisture in a building is the air conditioning system. Therefore the design Architect and Mechanical Engineer must coordinate their efforts very closely.

The building envelope can infiltrate outside air into the interior of the building if the building is not pressurized. This infiltration brings in uncontrolled air that contains fungus (mold and mildew), pollen and moisture. It is important that the design of the building controls building pressurization. Simply stated, building pressurization is the practice of providing more ventilation air then is being removed by building exhaust systems and building leakage.

In the last decade, it was determined that humidity played a greater role than previously thought. Consequently, current outdoor design conditions now reflect this greater effect of moisture or humidity. You have probably heard the following sometime in the last few years, “It’s not the temperature, it’s the humidity!” In controlling moisture inside buildings, this is correct in the humid South. If the architect and/or engineer do not recognize this, then disaster awaits.

The Holmes Agency, Inc. has the necessary skills and personnel to identify and determine the cause of moisture intrusion into buildings.

Typical services provided:

• Visual Assessment of Moisture Intrusion into the Indoor Environment
• Testing of Building Components for Moisture Intrusion
• Test and Balance of HVAC & Ventilation Systems
• Causation Determination of Moisture Intrusion