Do Moisture Absorbers Work?

Wednesday 6th March 2024

Ellen Warren

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Close up on air purify bag charcoal activated carbon moisture absorber and odour eliminator hanging on the door in apartment

CONTENTS

Many turn to moisture absorbers as a solution against the lingering humidity to combat excess moisture. By utilising substances such as silica gel or calcium chloride, moisture absorbers actively pull water vapour out of the atmosphere.

At ICE Cleaning, our mould remediation services are available nationwide and offer leading solutions for mould breakouts. With our experienced team and state-of-the-art equipment, we can discover the root cause of mould and prevent its return.

Read on to learn more about moisture absorbers and their effectiveness in various environments and against different moisture levels.

How do moisture absorbers work?

Moisture absorbers are essential in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. They work through the process of hygroscopy. This means they attract and hold water vapour from the surrounding air.

The effectiveness of moisture absorbers depends on their core components: silica gel, calcium chloride, or activated charcoal.

Each substance has its way of capturing excess moisture; silica gel, for instance, has a porous structure which provides an extensive surface area to trap moisture efficiently.

Calcium chloride can absorb and dissolve the water it attracts. In this process, it releases heat and transforms into a saline mixture that effectively draws moisture from the surrounding atmosphere.

Lastly, activated charcoal reduces humidity levels through adsorption processes where molecules stick onto its surface rather than being absorbed. It excels at filtering out impurities, acting as an air purifier.

Can moisture absorbers regulate humidity levels?

Moisture absorbers play a crucial role in maintaining the delicate balance of indoor air quality. They actively extract moisture from the atmosphere, directly influencing the humidity levels in confined areas. Their performance is influenced by various elements like: 

Room size

Smaller areas, such as cupboards and wardrobes, are where moisture absorbers perform best. However, its capacity may struggle to keep up in larger rooms or areas with persistent damp issues.

Ventilation

Good airflow can significantly enhance the performance of moisture absorbers by distributing drier air throughout the space.

Climate

In cooler climates, the capacity for air to hold water decreases, making it easier for moisture absorbers to do their job effectively. Employing these tools is necessary to combat mould in high humidity.

While no one solution fits all scenarios, using moisture absorbers can offer significant relief in many cases, especially tailored towards smaller spaces with specific needs.

Can moisture absorbers prevent mould?

Moisture absorbers prevent mould by reducing the humidity level in the air, creating an environment that is less hospitable to mould growth.

Mould requires moisture to thrive, so by removing excess moisture from the air, moisture absorbers control the conditions necessary for mould spores to spread.

As moisture is absorbed, the relative humidity in the air decreases. Mould requires a certain humidity level to grow - around 60% higher - so reducing the humidity below this prevents mould.

Moisture absorbers also prevent condensation from forming on surfaces. The water droplets from condensation often provide a breeding ground for mould. By reducing the moisture in the air, moisture absorbers prevent condensation from occurring.

Overall, by controlling humidity levels and removing excess moisture from the air, moisture absorbers prevent mould growth and maintain a healthy indoor environment. 

However, it is important to note that moisture absorbers cannot eliminate an ongoing mould issue. This must be rectified with professional mould removal services.

What are the limitations of moisture absorbers?

Though moisture absorbers are crucial for keeping humidity in check, they have some drawbacks. Understanding these can help users make informed decisions about managing indoor air quality effectively.

A limited capacity 

One limitation is the capacity that these devices have for absorbing moisture. Once the absorbent material reaches its saturation point, it stops working and needs replacing. This requires regular monitoring to ensure they remain effective.

This aspect significantly impacts their cost-effectiveness and functional efficiency compared to more permanent solutions like dehumidifiers or enhanced ventilation systems.

Periodic replacement

Maintenance is another crucial factor where the need for periodic replacement of the absorbent material adds an ongoing task on the user’s part. This makes them less convenient than automated systems like dehumidifiers that require minimal manual intervention.

Regularly maintaining these devices is time-consuming and costly, making it a less appealing option for managing moisture inside over the long haul.

Compared to alternative methods of controlling indoor humidity levels, like a ventilation system or dehumidifier, moisture absorbers are considered a temporary solution rather than addressing underlying issues causing excess humidity. 

While suitable for small enclosed spaces like wardrobes or cupboards, improving home ventilation and repairing leaks is a more sustainable approach to preventing mould growth and lowering humidity levels.

What is the best way to use a moisture absorber?

Using a moisture absorber effectively involves several key steps to ensure optimal performance and efficacy. This includes:

  • Choosing the right type: Select a moisture absorber suitable for your needs and the specific area you want to target.
  • Identifying problem areas: Determine the areas in your home or space that experience high humidity levels or moisture buildup.
  • Placement: Position the moisture absorber in a central location within the targeted area, preferably in an elevated position where air circulation is good.
  • Monitor regularly: Check the moisture absorber regularly to monitor its effectiveness. You may need to empty or replace the absorbent material periodically.
  • Maintain airflow: Ensure adequate airflow in the room or space where the moisture absorber is placed.
  • Address underlying issues: Identify and address any sources of excess moisture, such as leaks, poor insulation, or inadequate ventilation, to prevent recurring moisture issues.
  • Replace when needed: Regular maintenance and replacement ensure continued moisture control and prevent mould and mildew growth.

What are some other ways to prevent mould?

There are strategies besides moisture absorbers to make areas less hospitable for mould growth. A key aspect of this strategy involves the following:

  • Using dehumidifiers and air purifiers
  • Installing extraction fans in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Open windows where possible
  • Regularly inspect your home for leaks
  • Use anti-mould cleaning products
  • Wipe down condensation and dry surfaces after spills
  • Avoid overwatering indoor plants
  • Install or upgrade your insulation
  • Regularly clean and hoover your home
  • Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels

By employing these strategies alongside moisture absorbers, you create multiple barriers against mould growth.

Frequently asked questions

Do disposable moisture absorbers work?

Yes, they pull water from the air efficiently in small spaces. 

What is the best thing to absorb moisture?

Silica gel is the most effective at reducing moisture.

How long does it take for moisture absorbers to work?

It can take a couple of weeks before the effects become obvious.

How effective are moisture traps?

They work best in confined areas like wardrobes or cupboards.

Get in touch

For expert mould cleaning services, the team at ICE Cleaning can step up and ensure your property is mould-free. We utilise advanced technology and cleaning solutions that can ensure the mould never returns, and keep your property safe.

To learn more about our mould removal services, contact us today at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. We can be on-site at your earliest convenience to assess the property, providing help 24/7, 365 days a year across the UK.

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