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This handbook is an update of the original Moisture Control Handbook that was published in 1991. Thirty years ago, we had already recognized that the control of moisture was the critical path to designing energy efficient, durable, and healthy buildings. The Abstract of the original handbook states that moisture is “viewed as one of the single largest factors limiting the useful service life of a building,” that “very little consensus on moisture control existed,” and that “a need to develop a document which presented moisture from a building science or systems approach existed.”
Why update the handbook? The laws of physics have not changed; air, moisture, and heat still flow in and out of buildings according to the laws of thermodynamics. However, building materials, equipment, and construction practices have changed substantially over the last thirty years and changing consumer expectations about comfort have transformed the way modern buildings are constructed and perform.
Moisture problems are prevalent all over North America, almost independent of climate. They are viewed as one of the single largest factors limiting the useful service life of a building. Elevated levels of moisture in buildings also can lead to serious health effects for occupants. A need to develop a document that presents the issues relating to moisture from a building science or “systems” approach exists. This document attempts to fill that need.