Leave Water Damage Remediation to the Pros
Should you ever be unfortunate enough to have to deal with a major water leak In your home, you know the value of quick action to get things dried up and cleaned out before the water can do additional damage. But after you've done what you can to get things started and you've called in a restoration contractor, what kinds of tools do the pros use to dry out your house?
As with many aspects of construction and remodeling, damage restoration has become very specialized in the last decade or so. And with that specialization has come a whole new generation of tools and equipment designed specifically for drying homes. Done correctly, this type of restorative drying, can save thousands of dollars in structural damage and, most importantly, get your house and life back together quickly.
One of the most important weapons that restoration contractors use for drying is air movement. This air - focused, moving a very high speed, and without any heat that might cause secondary damage to fragile contents - safely evaporates the water to dry surfaces quickly.
The primary tool for this drying is the high-velocity air mover. An air mover utilizes a high-speed motor to drive a fan with a series of horizontal fins, producing, a very large volume of fast moving air that exits through a wide "snout" at the front of the unit. These air movers can be placed on floors and under wet carpets. Their adjustable speed motors can move the desired volume of air exactly where it's needed.
For areas where, air mover use is impractical, under cabinets, in crawl spaces and, other such confined spaces - special fittings can be adapted to the snout of the unit to allow for the attachment of one or more flexible ducts. These four-inch diameter ducts can then be placed just about anywhere to direct the airflow exactly where it's needed.
One particularly effective use of these ducts is for the drying of wall cavities. First, a series of holes are drilled low on the wall, and then a special" wall boot" is attached to cover the holes. An air duct from the air mover is then attached to the boot, and high-speed air is directed up into the concealed cavities, allowing for the drying of drywall, insulation and wall framing that used to be considered inaccessible without major demolition work.
Once the moisture is released out into the air, it needs to be removed quickly before it can circulate and do additional damage somewhere else. For this task, the pros utilize high-capacity dehumidifiers.
The most common type is a refrigerant dehumidifier, which works on the same principles as a refrigerator or air conditioner. By compressing and passing refrigerant through a series of coils, the coils become colder than the surrounding air. The moisture in the air will always move toward a colder surface, and will condense on these coils and freeze, safely and effectively removing it from the air. At pre-timed intervals the coils switch into a defrost cycle, the frozen condensation is melted off and flows into a catch basin, and a pump pushes it through a flexible hose to a drain location such as a sink or toilet.
Another type of dehumidifier is the desiccant, which utilizes the same moisture absorbing desiccant crystals you find in those little packets packed in with new electronic components - although on a much larger scale.
Basically, moist air is drawn into the unit, where a rotating plate of desiccant crystals removes the moisture from the air stream. The moisture is exhausted to the outside of the house through a hose, while the dry air is allowed to reenter the room. Hoses can also be used to direct this flow of dry, slightly warm air to wherever it is needed.
Desiccant dehumidifiers work a little slower than refrigerants, but will dry things down to a lower moisture level. They are especially effective in drying items that normally have low moisture content, including hardwood floors, cabinets and books and other paperwork.
Under the right conditions, wet structures and contents can be a perfect breeding ground for mold spores. When mold is present, the restoration contractor has a couple of additional tools in the arsenal for safely and effectively removing it.
For many hard surfaces, including everything from framing and drywall to furniture, the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum can be used to remove mold spores. Spores are measured in microns one micron is approximately 1/25,OOO of an inch and HEPA equipment is, by definition, capable of filtering out 99.97 percent of all particle matter and mist larger than 0.3 microns. Since the mold spores in a water damage situation typically range in the 2 to 20 micron range. HEPA equipment is very effective in their removal.
Another tool is the air scrubber, which is essentially a portable, high-speed recirculation fan.
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