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The Crucial Role of Humidity Control in Cold Storage

When it comes to cold storage, ensuring optimal humidity control is of paramount importance. Failing to address this crucial factor can lead to a multitude of issues that can impact on operations both inside and outside the cold store. This article looks at why humidity control is important in cold storage environments, and the pivotal role it can play in ensuring food safety, product integrity, operational efficiency, and safety.

Health and Packaging Degradation

One of the primary risks associated with inadequate humidity control is the potential risk to health and safety. The combination of cold air emanating from the cold store, combined with moisture leakage from the outside environment leads to excessive relative humidity (RH%) levels. This excessive moisture poses safety hazards such as wet and slippery floors, reduced visibility due to fog, and the potential for collisions with people or other forklifts, endangering both personnel and equipment. Slips, trips, and falls are all dangerous consequences of ice build-up, as is the risk of ice falling from ceilings or walls. 

Operational efficiency and product storage

Uncontrolled humidity levels give rise to further challenges within the cold store. Ice crystals can hinder readability of barcode scanners, impeding efficient inventory management. Additionally, the ingress of moisture can lead to accelerated degradation of cardboard packaging materials, exacerbating the risk of product spoilage and compromising overall quality.

External Factors and Existing Solutions

It is important to acknowledge that the problems experienced inside the cold store are often driven by conditions outside the cold store (e.g. in loading bays). Alternative solution strategies, while partially effective, tend to be temporary and costly, falling short in providing a long-term solution. Defrost cycles for evaporators, although utilized, result in increased energy consumption and may disrupt the cold store's desired conditions. Resorting to floor heating near the door, with power consumption reaching 8-10 kW, is a suboptimal solution that poses additional expenses. Manual removal of ice and snow from walls, floors, and products is a labor-intensive process that can also cause damage to the cold store structure.

The Importance of Moisture Removal

Addressing the root cause of cold store ice and fog problems lies in effective moisture removal. By implementing dehumidification solutions, substantial improvements can be achieved in terms of safety, hygiene, operational efficiency, and energy savings. Efficient dehumidification systems ensure that the humidity levels are controlled within optimal parameters, mitigating the risks associated with excess moisture, and safeguarding the integrity of stored products.

The significance of humidity control cannot be overstated

To summarize, the significance of humidity control in cold storage cannot be overstated. Failure to address this vital aspect can lead to many issues, ranging from compromised food safety and product degradation to safety hazards and reduced operational efficiency. Recognizing the impact of external conditions on the cold store and the limitations of existing solutions underscores the need for comprehensive dehumidification strategies. By focusing on effective moisture removal, cold storage facilities can uphold stringent quality standards and optimize their operations for maximum productivity and customer satisfaction.


Want to know more about humidity control in cold storages?

Watch Munters recent cold storage webinar on demand here!
Webinar: Cold Storage in the Food Industry


Article first published on Munters Spotlight page on Linkedin, 5 June 2023.
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