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Measurement helps churches minimize costly moisture damage

Published 2023-10-19

Measurement helps churches minimize costly moisture damage

Celsicom Moisture in a church

There are many places in a church that can be exposed to moisture, causing damage to walls and ceilings, furnishings and decorations, textiles and books. An increasing number of parishes and pastorates have started to systematically log moisture and also temperature to avoid costly moisture damage while minimizing heating costs.

Mold and other microorganisms are common in churches. Cleaning up microbial growth takes a lot of time and money. To counteract this, the Church of Sweden has been working actively for many years to ensure a good indoor climate in church buildings. As part of this work, a comprehensive handbook on the facts and detection of moisture in different environments has been produced.

Increased need for metrology

“Moisture, or water, is the single most important factor in determining whether a church building is affected by mold. Keeping moisture and water loads in check prevents damage,” the manual states. At the same time, it notes that mold problems do not seem to be going away but rather the opposite: climate change, with increasing rainfall and warmer climates, is predicted to give churches more work in controlling and managing moisture levels.

The handbook is aimed at those who both plan and carry out the operation, maintenance and supervision of churches in parishes and pastorates. It is divided into the following seven inspection rounds: the crawl space, soil and drainage, the façade, the attic, the roof, the interior of the building and in connection with surveying.

Not everything can be seen or smelled…

There are many sources of moisture, such as rainfall and soil moisture, leakage and humidity. Discoloration, stains and flaking plaster and paint can indicate moisture damage. Similarly, an unusual, pungent smell can reveal the presence of mold. But in a remarkable number of cases, mold growth is fairly anonymous. The mould cannot be seen or smelled until the growth is well advanced. If microbial growth is suspected, the Church of Sweden therefore recommends that adequate measuring equipment be used to measure and monitor the presence of temperature and relative humidity (RH) in several places in the church.

So what causes moisture problems in churches and where should measurements be taken? Open doors (e.g. during summers), leaks and exhaled air from visitors during services are some sources of warm air meeting cool surfaces (such as church walls) and causing condensation. Surfaces made of organic material or soiled by carbon particles from burning candles are a good breeding ground for microbial growth.

Moisture alarm from microclimate measurement

In a church there are many microclimates. These are small, confined areas where temperature, air circulation and humidity may differ from the climate in other parts of the space. These microclimates, which may have elevated moisture levels, are found under pews and pulpits, behind altarpieces and fixtures placed/attached to an exterior wall. One microclimate that’s important to keep an eye on is the storage of mess kit, alba, smock and other garments. Textiles are sensitive and should ideally not be exposed to relative humidity higher than 50% RH. Many churches use the mobile-connected Celsicom TH600 to measure moisture in these and other spaces. If the moisture value is exceeded, the user receives an automatic alarm via SMS or email. By also using the Celsicom TC602 measurement box, you can perform additional measurements and compare them with the TH600 measurement data in the Celsiview cloud service. It gives you the RF value of a surface in real time, allowing you to quickly see if the surface is so cold and damp that there is a high risk of mold growth.

Moisture content in exposed wooden structures

Water leaks and warm air entering roof and floor structures can result in damp environments and a breeding ground for mold. Using the Celsicom MM611 connected measurement box, churches can quickly and easily measure the moisture content on an ongoing basis. They monitor the water content of exposed wooden structures such as roof and floor joists and can detect at an early stage any damage caused, for example, by water ingress.

Temperature measurement that saves costs

Energy saving is a priority for many businesses. Churches are no exception. In many cases, intermittent heating is used. That is, church buildings are basically only heated for services, weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies. The Celsicom TH600 is a perfect measurement solution in this context as well. The measuring box tells you how long it takes to heat the church. This can help churches ensure perfectly timed, comfortable indoor climates for different services while reducing heating costs.

Move and measure wherever you want

The Celsicom family of measurement boxes are all small and compact, reliable and battery-powered. It only takes a few minutes to activate a box to start measuring. The boxes can be placed almost anywhere and are easy to move when a new measurement need arises.

Measurement solutions for moisture control in churches

Celsicom TH600 Applications

Celsicom TH600

Connected measuring box with integrated sensors for humidity and temperature.

Read more about TH600

Celsicom TC602 Application page

Celsicom TC602

Connected measurement box with two inputs for external temperature sensors.

Read more about TC602

Celsicom MM611 Application Page

Celsicom MM611

Connected measurement box for remote monitoring of moisture content in wood.

Read more about MM611

The Celsiview cloud service

Web-based cloud service that allows you to view and share updated measurement data, create reports, get limit value alerts – and much more. Directly on your phone, tablet or computer.

Read more about Celsiview

More facts about moisture

Various factors affect the humidity measurement. If you want to find out what these are and what you need to consider when using humidity measuring instruments, read more on our Facts about humidity page.

Telefon Celsiview screen kyrka kontor

Remote monitoring

Application: Logging of humidity and temperature, indoor climate

Measurement solution: Celsicom TH600

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Contact persons

Mats Landin


Mats Landin

Area of responsibility: Ventilation, Construction, Air conditioning
031-704 10 85
031-704 10 70