Condensation Issues in Cool Rooms: What are the Possible Causes and Solutions?

18 September 2019

Most cool room managers are familiar with several condensation triggers. A troublesome door or door seal allows air to seep into the chilled enclosure, or maybe a new staff member has been propping a hinged panel open for several long minutes at a time. Be that as it may, there could be several unknown causative factors for every easily explained condensation instigator, so we need to work smart here.

The Science Behind Condensation Challenges

Warm air stores heat, which is probably why wet and warm countries get so humid. The air literally becomes heavy with tiny beads of water. Now, on returning to a cool room, cold air cannot hold moisture. That’s just how the laws of thermodynamics work. Because of that scientifically verified precept, airborne moisture in a cold room will collect on a chilled surface. And that’s what happens when ambient temperature airflows get into a cool room. Through a cracked seal or slightly open door, ordinary levels of humidity, as contained in the air we breathe, get into a cold room and end up dropping onto exposed surfaces. These “droplets” generally collect on chilled materials, such as glass panels and stainless steel fittings.

Condensation Headaches: Weighing the Causative Factors

As was mentioned in this post’s opening passage, door problems aren’t the only troublemakers here. Poorly insulated walls are potential culprits too. Or perhaps the insulation is functioning, but a crack has opened up between a pair of poorly aligned cool room wall panels. Is this a newer piece of equipment? If so, composite panels of high-tech insulation stop enclosure breaches from occurring. On the other hand, older units, loaded with fibreglass and other old-style insulation materials, can absorb dampness. That’s no good, for now the insulation isn’t only failing as a heat rejection barrier; the material is also trapping water and generating condensation.

Left unresolved, beads of water can raise the temperature in a cool room. The droplets get into equipment, or they become a breeding ground for mould colonies. So, what’s the solution? Beyond keeping the doors closed and the seals intact, how does a site manager deal with the above condensation producing triggers? A call to a service engineer is recommended, then a check of the chamber’s wall insulation can be given action. If this is a warehouse cold zone, there’s another solution that can be implemented. Let’s say trucks pull up to an open dock door. Plastic curtains, if not already fitted, should be added as a warm air buffer. It’s the same outside a walk-in or glass-panelled unit, this time with dehumidifier equipment keeping the outside air dry.

Mark Connelly
C&M Coolroom Services
Mobile: 0412 536 315

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