How Ice Condensation and Ice Buildup Damage Cold Storage Products

Condensation and ice buildup are both signs that the relative humidity in your cold storage facility is too high. But knowing what the problem is and understanding how to fix it are two very different things. If high moisture levels are damaging your cold storage products, it could mean that you need to add a new piece of equipment to the mix.

The Problem is Excess Moisture

If you’re noticing ice buildup, mold, mildew, or liquid condensation, you could be dealing with excessive humidity in your cold storage facility. High relative humidity can wreak havoc on your stored products and on your cold storage equipment. We’ve seen firsthand damaged corrugated packaging, illegible labels, premature refrigeration system failure, slip hazards, door seal tearing, improper sealing, and compromised product.

Ice buildup on your surfaces? If you are noticing ice building up around vents, doors, on your evaporator, or even on cold stored items, then excess water vapor in the air in the storage are is the problem. Excess water vapor, while not visible, builds up on cold surfaces in the form of condensation and builds up as ice over time.

Desiccant Dehumidifier
Quest 132D in action

Changing the Temperature Isn’t the Solution

Commonly, lowering the temperature set-point of the cold storage facility or adding a space heater is offered as a solution to high moisture levels by keeping the coils running and collecting water.  Here’s why that is a poor long-term strategy:

AS COIL TEMPERATURE DROPS, THE LIKELIHOOD OF FROZEN COILS INCREASES

The coil temperature and dewpoint is likely already lower than freezing which is only going to create ice build up.  It’s energy intensive and hard on the compressor to continually defrost the coils when this happens plus it will take your cooling capacity offline.  This may affect your room temperature and jeopardize product integrity.

RAISING THE TEMPERATURE ISN’T THE SOLUTION EITHER!

People will often put an electric resistance heater in the space, again in an attempt to keep the refrigeration coils running longer and pulling more water from the air. This is creating a high energy load due to the heater and the double work the refrigeration system has to perform.  This results in higher operational costs and premature failure of the refrigeration system.

The Solution is Desiccant Dehumidification

So if adjusting the temperature isn’t the right fix for condensation and ice buildup, what is? Adding a desiccant dehumidifier to your cold storage facility’s climate control system could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Desiccant dehumidification is the only way to pull water vapor from the air in a cold storage facility area with low dew-points and the process is really very simple.

The desiccant dehumidifier pulls process air from the conditioned area, absorbs water vapor in the silica gel desiccant wheel, and a secondary air stream regenerates the wheel by sending the water vapor outside of the structure. That means that the damage caused by condensation and ice buildup – or high relative humidity – will no longer be a problem after you add a dehumidifier to the climate control system.

Learn More Now

Therma-Stor offers commercial dehumidification systems and solutions that can help you solve your cold storage condensation and ice problems. Contact our team now to find out how to add a dehumidifier to your climate control system.