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  • Writer's picturePerceptive Things Team

The Importance of Humidity Sensors for Commercial Buildings



A humidity sensor is an important tool for building owners and property managers who want to keep their commercial sites comfortable and operational.


Smart humidity sensors are particularly useful for enabling users to understand how humidity affects a building in real-time. This allows them to react in a timely fashion to protect their equipment, tenants, and building infrastructure.


In this blog post, we will discuss what humidity sensors are, how they work, and why they are so important for commercial buildings!


What is a humidity sensor?


Humidity sensors, like other ambient sensors, are electronic devices that measure the atmospheric conditions of a room. Humidity sensors are used to measure the amount of moisture in the air. This information can then be used to regulate the humidity levels in a building.


These sensors are essential for maintaining optimal air quality. High humidity can cause mold growth, respiratory issues, and other problems.


By keeping an eye on these sensor readings, business owners can ensure their buildings remain healthy and operational.


Why are humidity sensors important for commercial buildings?


Humidity Sensors are essential for commercial buildings because they can help to control mold growth, improve air quality, and reduce energy costs. High humidity levels can cause mold to grow in hidden places like ceilings and walls, resulting in costly repairs and health issues.


In addition, having an accurate reading of the humidity level inside your building will also help you save money on heating or cooling systems by adjusting them accordingly. This means that running your HVAC system more efficiently will lead to reduced energy costs over time.


Overall, humidity sensors are essential for commercial buildings because they help to maintain air quality, reduce energy costs, and prevent mold growth. By understanding how humidity affects the environment inside your building, you can use a humidity sensor to accurately monitor humidity levels and keep everyone safe and comfortable.


The Benefits of Humidity Sensors for Commercial Buildings


Humidity sensors are crucial for commercial buildings that want to utilize smart systems to monitor their building's humidity fluctuations.


The main function of humidity sensors is to provide you with details about the moisture levels inside particular areas and rooms in your building. With the given data, you can determine if your current building temperature and humidity levels need adjustment.


Because of the insightful information you get from your humidity sensors, you can take additional steps to adjust the settings inside the building.


There are a ton of positive sides to humidity sensors. Here are the 5 advantages of humidity sensors:

  • Affordable

  • Fast

  • Accurate

  • Provide stable results

  • Easy to use

What Would Happen if a Commercial Building Doesn't Have Humidity Sensors?


Without having a way to check the humidity levels in your community building, you could stumble upon many challenges due to high humidity. The biggest problems with buildings that have unregulated humidity in the air are:

  • Mold and mildew growth

  • Respiratory problems

  • Mechanical failures

  • Poor air quality

  • Airborne diseases


How do humidity sensors work?

Humidity sensors work by using a combination of electrical components to detect how much humidity is present in the air around them. The sensors are typically placed near windows and doorways where they can be exposed to outside air regularly.


Once installed, they will collect data that gives a detailed picture of the environment inside your commercial building. With this data, business owners can adjust the temperature and humidity levels as needed.


The actual working principle of humidity sensors will depend on the type of humidity sensor you are using. Some types measure relative humidity while others measure absolute humidity in the air.


Types of Humidity sensors


There are several types of humidity sensors with widespread usage. Although the main function of all humidity sensors is to measure air humidity, each type functions on a different principle, and they vary in size and functionality.


Humidity sensors can use two different methods for measuring the humidity in the air:

  • Relative humidity — This represents the amount of air moisture compared to the moisture level at the same pressure and temperature required for saturation. Relative humidity is expressed in percentages.

  • Absolute humidity — This represents the vapor water mass ratio to the air volume, and you can calculate it from relative humidity. Absolute humidity is expressed in grams per cubic meter.


These are the three basic types of humidity sensors you can encounter:

  • Capacitive (Relative humidity)

  • Resistive (Relative humidity)

  • Thermal (Absolute humidity)

Each of these humidity sensor types monitors atmospheric changes and uses the data to calculate the air humidity, but in different ways.


Keep reading to learn more about each type of humidity sensor.


Capacitive


The most commonly used type of humidity sensor is a capacitive sensor. These sensors get the humidity value in the air by relying on electrical capacitance.


Capacitative humidity sensors have a capacitor with two electrode levels in between which is a thin metal oxide. This humidity sensor measures relative humidity by sensing relative humidity changes in the atmosphere. Whenever there’s a humidity change, the metal oxide will change its electrical capacity, and showcase the percentage of relative humidity.


Capacitative humidity sensors are linear and can measure relative humidity from 0% to 100%, while being able to withstand temperatures of 32°F. These sensors are able to detect a wide range of relative humidity and they provide stable and accurate readings.


Depending on your needs, you can use these sensors for commercial, industry, and weather applications. Although these humidity sensors are pretty good, they have some drawbacks; their biggest disadvantage is that they are temperature dependent. Also, the distance between their circuit signal and the sensor has limitations.


Pros:

  • Low-maintenance

  • Affordable

  • Can withstand temperatures of 32°F

  • Linear output voltage

  • Reliable

Cons:

  • Temperature-dependent

  • Limitations in distance between circuit signal and sensor


Resistive Humidity Sensors


Another common type of humidity sensor is a resistive humidity sensor, also known as hygristors. These humidity sensors take advantage of resistivity changes between two electrodes to calculate relative humidity in the air.


Inside of resistive humidity sensors, you can find a hygroscopic conductive layer; it has properties of a polymer humidity sensing film with numerous comb-like electrodes inside.


The resistivity of the conductive material will depend on the amount of absorbed moisture; the more water vapor it absorbs, the higher the conductivity. As the conductivity increases, the resistivity inside the humidity sensor decreases.


Resistive humidity sensors are low-cost and have a wide range of applications. They are an excellent option for monitoring humidity air changes remotely because they can withstand a large distance between the circuit signal and the sensor.


Pros:

  • Affordable

  • Compact in size

  • Large distance between the circuit signal and the sensor

Cons:

  • Sensitive to contaminations in the air

Thermal

Unlike the other two types that measure relative humidity, thermal humidity sensors measure absolute humidity in the air. To showcase you the measurement of absolute humidity, thermal humidity sensors calculate the thermal conductivity difference between dry and humid air.


These sensors consist of two thermistor NTC (negative temperature coefficient) elements in a bridge circuit, suspended by thin wires.One of the thermistors is exposed to the environment outside through ventilation holes coming from its chamber. The other is located inside of the humidity sensor, and is typically encapsulates into dry nitrogen.


This humidity sensor operates on self-heating; as electrical circuit passes between the outside and inside thermistors, they heat up. The temperature of the sensor increases due to an increase in resistive heating. Once one of the sensors gets in contact with the air, the conductivity also changes.


The resistance between the two NTC thermistors is proportional to the absolute humidity in the air.


Pros:

  • Durable

  • Suitable for hot weather areas

  • Suitable for areas and situations prone to corrosion

  • High resolution


Cons:

  • Gas exposure can affect the reading



Humidity Sensors for Buildings


If you’re looking for a reliable solution that will improve the air quality in your commercial building, humidity sensors are one of the best ways to do so.

Mercury™ by Perceptive Things®

Mercury™ by Perceptive Things® is both an ambient temperature and humidity sensor that can be mounted anywhere. Our platform will send you immediate notifications whenever the temperature or humidity rises above or falls below your configured threshold.


Use Mercury™ to monitor and track readings over time, which will help you ensure a consistent and safe environment in your building. Rest easy knowing that our sensors are running behind the scenes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.


If you are interested in learning more about Mercury™, please reach out to us at contact@perceptivethings.com.We would love to help you select the best sensors for your building.








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