Moisture Management Services
Holistic Moisture Control Solutions for Collections,
Museums and Historic Buildings
Most discussion about environmental control centers around systems - heating,
air conditioning, dehumidifying, and humidifying. Providing environmental
conditions that are good for collections and people often creates problems for
preservation of the building itself. This can be unacceptable if an
historic structure is involved, leading to inadequate preservation of either the
collections or the building or both.
Focusing on the source of the moisture and preventing it from entering the
building is often more effective, less expensive and reduces the need for
mechanical systems and precious energy resources, annually saving money in
utility and maintenance costs. This approach also can allow for good preservation
of both the building and the collections at the same time. The vast
majority of moisture that causes unsatisfactory interior RH levels comes from
outdoors, either as rain or as high humidity that infiltrate the building.
This does not have to happen! With a careful holistic plan,
much of this infiltration can be prevented, leading to more favorable and
stable interior environmental conditions.
American Conservation Consortium provides the following moisture management
|Preparation of Moisture
Management and Control Plans. This comprehensive document looks at
all of the factors influencing the relative humidity of the interior
|Design and management of efficient, inexpensive environmental monitoring
programs. Monitoring provides a baseline of existing conditions and
allows determination of the effectiveness of improvement efforts.|
|Evaluation and design of moisture infiltration improvement options, including
site topography and grading, drainage systems, and building envelope
tightening. Some of these activities also can provide dual preservation
benefits in other areas, such as light control. This is an advantage of
working with a conservator who understands all aspects of preservation, rather
than an HVAC engineer.|
|Design of simple, inexpensive environmental control systems for heating,
dehumidification and ventilation. Effective does not have to mean
sophisticated and expensive.|
|Design and production of inexpensive
low-tech environmental controls.|
Each site has its own unique needs. Many projects can be accomplished with
in-house staff. However, when necessary, a team of consultants can be
assembled, including preservation architects, architectural historians, HVAC
engineers, and product specialists.
Moisture Management and
A moisture management and control plan is a fluid document that
reflects the then-current conditions, needs and proposed solutions. Once
created, it must be updated as needed to accurately reflect changes. The
plan is unique for each site, but commonly includes many or all of the
a) Read and evaluate all previous written reports and evaluations concerning
moisture issues. Determine what is relevant and accurate, and what suggested
improvements or repairs have been implemented. As required, talk with the
authors of the reports. Identify recurrent moisture problem areas.
b) Visit the site and perform visual water and moisture infiltration inspections
overall, as well as in identified problem areas. Formulate potential solutions,
including any necessary testing or applied evaluation.
c) Evaluate the existing guttering system and determine which improvements are
required. If necessary, redesign the guttering system.
d) Evaluate overall site drainage and provide suggestions to be incorporated
into site grading improvements, if needed. Determine if auxiliary drainage
systems are required. Monitoring of the effectiveness of other
improvements may have to occur first.
e) Evaluate the moisture management needs of foundations and basement floors.
Consider the merits and drawbacks of plastic sheeting and concrete on the
f) Evaluate moisture issues with chimneys, both at the fireplace flues and the
g) Evaluate data-logged environmental monitoring data, both before and after
h) Determine if the existing system of furnaces, dehumidifiers, ductwork and
air conditioners, if any, can be adapted with low-tech controls to perform
adequately, or if a holistically-designed simple new system is required.
i) Evaluate potential improvements in environmental stability, including the
advantages and disadvantages of storm windows and insulation, and the isolation
and ventilation of attic spaces. Provide improvement suggestions.
j) Prepare a moisture control inspection and maintenance plan that addresses all
of the issues affecting water and moisture intrusion and control. Include
specific activities and frequency schedules.
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