Whether you’re working in a brewery, pulp and paper mill, or running a hotel or restaurant, there’s a good chance you’ve had to deal with condensation.
It’s the toughest issue that we hear about often from both our manufacturing and building clients.
Condensation happens on chilled piping and tanks, ceilings, ductwork, and multiple other areas, causing major problems with moisture dripping over areas where it shouldn’t be. Most people just want the condensation stopped when they go to an insulation manufacturer for help, but the issue isn’t always an easy yes or no answer because of the variables involved.
I always begin by asking about the dew point temperature, which is just a calculation based upon the ambient air temperature and humidity.
For example, if your ambient air is 80F and you have 50% relative humidity, your dew point is 60F. Which means if your equipment surface goes below 60F, it’s going to start to sweat and have condensation on it. If the surface is only a few degrees below the 60F, say 58F, it’s not too hard to stop it. But if your surface is 35F, which is 25 degrees below the dew point, it’s going to be a little harder to stop that condensation.
If you’re wondering how to calculate your dew point, there are handheld devices that can be used to measure this and also online calculators (www.dpcalc.org) that can be used if you know the temperature and humidity information.
While reducing a hot surface temperature by using insulation is not too difficult, increasing a cool surface temperature is not quite as easy. One way that people try to solve condensation is to wrap the surface with a fibrous insulation and cover it with cladding. But this method doesn’t actually stop the condensation from happening at the surface. Instead it is trapping it and holding it against the surface and causing corrosion of metal and unhealthy mold growth on other surfaces.
When approaching a condensation issue, we always try to educate the customer about what causes condensation and the fact that not all condensation can be solved easily without employing several methods. A surface that is only 10-18 degrees Fahrenheit below the dew point can have condensation stopped completely in most cases by our thermal insulation coatings.
But if you have severe condensation, then our coatings can lessen it, but not completely eliminate it. However, in all cases, they will protect the underlying surface from moisture damage and corrosion.
Dealing with a condensation issue? Just get in touch – we’ll help you assess it and tell you exactly what our coatings can do for you.