Maintaining Art Pieces with Humidity Controllers

Maintaining Art Pieces with Humidity Controllers
Published On:October 11, 2018 Revised On:January 5, 2024

Art is an exquisite expression of human creativity and emotion; art pieces hold immense cultural and monetary value. Whether one is an art enthusiast, collector, or curator, it is crucial to ensure that these precious works are well-maintained to preserve their longevity and beauty.

One of the key factors that can significantly impact the condition of art pieces is humidity. This article will explore the importance of controlling humidity levels and how humidity controllers can play a vital role in safeguarding art pieces.

Understanding the Impact of Humidity on Art

Humidity, the amount of moisture in the air, can profoundly affect various art mediums such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles, and more. Fluctuations in humidity levels can cause irreversible damage to art pieces, leading to warping, fading, mould growth, cracking, and other detrimental effects.

High humidity levels can encourage mould and insect infestations, while low humidity levels can result in shrinkage and brittleness. Maintaining the integrity and condition of art pieces requires controlling the humidity in their storage or display environments.

Maintaining Art Pieces

One effective solution for preserving art pieces is to moderate the moisture level they are exposed to carefully. There is a common misconception that all artworks should be stored in extremely dry environments and kept away from moisture. However, it is important to note that excessively dry or excessively wet conditions can lead to irreversible damage.

Art pieces require specific moisture levels to be properly preserved, and it is crucial to maintain these levels consistently. The moisture levels are measured in terms of Relative Humidity (RH), which represents the amount of water vapour in the air as a percentage of the amount required for saturation at the same temperature. When the Relative Humidity reaches 100%, condensation will begin to form.

It is important to understand that different art materials have varying requirements for Relative Humidity. Each material must be maintained at a specific level to ensure its preservation. By carefully monitoring and controlling the moisture levels, art conservators and collectors can help protect their art pieces from damage caused by excessive or inadequate moisture exposure.

Optimal Relative Humidity Levels for Preserving Art

To properly preserve various types of art, it is important to maintain specific Relative Humidity (RH) levels. Here are the recommended RH ranges for different materials:

  • Paper, wood, dying and weaving products, Japanese lacquer: RH55–65% These materials are susceptible to excessive dryness or moisture damage. Maintaining an RH level between 55% and 65% helps prevent warping, cracking, or brittleness.
  • Elephant tusk, pelts, parchments, nature-related works: RH50–65% These materials require a slightly lower RH range, but still within 50% to 65%, to ensure their stability and prevent deterioration.
  • Oil paintings, Humidor beads: RH50–55% Oil paintings and items stored with humidor beads benefit from a narrower RH range of 50% to 55%. This helps maintain the proper moisture balance for the preservation of the artwork.
  • Fossils: RH45–50% Fossils should be kept in an environment with an RH level between 45% and 50%. This helps prevent excessive drying or moisture absorption, leading to damage or decay.
  • Metal, rocks, and ceramics (desalination required): RH45% Metal, rocks, and ceramics generally require a lower RH level of around 45%. In some cases, desalination processes may be necessary to remove any existing salt deposits that could contribute to corrosion.

By adhering to these recommended RH levels for each specific material, art professionals and collectors can ensure the long-term preservation of their valuable artworks and artefacts.

Art Sorb Humidity Controllers

Art Sorb humidity controllers are innovative devices that regulate enclosed spaces’ humidity levels. These controllers work on the principle of adsorption, which involves attracting and holding moisture molecules from the air. Unlike traditional humidifiers or dehumidifiers, humidity controllers provide a precise and stable humidity control system, ensuring optimal conditions for preserving art pieces.

Benefits of Humidity Controllers

  1. Consistent and Precise Humidity Control: Humidity controllers maintain a stable humidity level, preventing sudden fluctuations that can harm art pieces. By carefully controlling the moisture content in the air, these devices create an environment conducive to the long-term preservation of artwork.
  2. Preventing Mold and Fungal Growth: Excessive moisture can foster the growth of mould, fungi, and bacteria, posing a significant threat to art pieces. Humidity controllers actively remove excess humidity from the air, inhibiting the conditions necessary for mould and fungal infestations.
  3. Protection against Condensation: Rapid changes in temperature and humidity can cause condensation, leading to water droplets forming on the surface of art pieces. This can result in irreversible damage, such as paint discolouration or paper deterioration. Humidity controllers help maintain optimal humidity levels, reducing the risk of condensation and its harmful effects.
  4. Preservation of Material Integrity: Different art mediums have specific moisture requirements for long-term preservation. Humidity controllers allow for tailoring the humidity levels according to the specific needs of the art piece, be it canvas, wood, paper, or other materials. By ensuring the correct humidity balance, these controllers help prevent material degradation and ensure the artwork retains its original beauty.
  5. Energy Efficiency and Cost-effectiveness: Humidity controllers are energy-efficient devices that consume minimal power. They do not require a continuous water supply or complex installation, making them a cost-effective solution for art preservation. Their long lifespan and low maintenance requirements make them a reliable investment for art collectors, museums, galleries, and institutions.


Preserving art pieces in pristine condition requires meticulous attention to environmental factors, particularly humidity control. Humidity controllers offer an advanced and effective solution for maintaining optimal humidity levels, safeguarding the integrity and longevity of art pieces. By investing in these innovative devices, art enthusiasts can ensure that art collections’ beauty and cultural significance are preserved for future generations.