Water Damage – Drying It All Out
In any case of water damage, the operative word is “dry”. Everything must be completely dried out, cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized (sometimes more than once) before the project can be considered complete. Failure to do so will result in additional problems such as mold. Count on it.
There are a number of different drying methods utilized by the water restoration industry. Which one used depends of course on the depth and severity of the spill they are dealing with. In general, however, there are four basic procedures that may be brought to bear.
Air drying is the single most common procedure, utilizing the circulation of air throughout the damaged area to remove moisture from surfaces as well as the immediate atmosphere. The most obvious benefit of air drying is the lack of cost, while the biggest problem is that it takes a considerable amount of time to accomplish and the end result is not always clear. Since time is important when it comes to water damage, it is usually beneficial to accentuate air drying with other techniques designed to help the process along in a more timely fashion.
Circulation may be enhanced through the use of high velocity fans, blowers, or other air moving devices, placed throughout the damaged area. The more units you can bring to bear, the better off you will be. These devices increase air circulation and speed up the drying process proportionately.
Dehumidification is another drying process that mainly involves removing excess moisture from the air and bringing down the overall level of humidity within the water damage zone. Humidity levels in any structure should ideally remain at 50% or less. Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes and capacities, and when used in conjunction with digital humidity meters can be quite effective in maintaining proper moisture levels following a water damage event.
Freezer drying, or cryogenic drying, is the preferred method of handling more delicate items that may have been damaged by water, such as books or photographs. Freezer drying is just what it sounds like, the freezing of the affected material, reducing the surrounding pressure, and allowing the frozen water in the damaged material to sublimate directly from solid to gas.
Cryogenic drying is a fairly recent development in drying technologies, with a much shorter drying cycle as well as the ability to handle a larger amount of water damaged materials than other techniques. It is primarily used in commercial applications and many homeowners find it a bit cost prohibitive to utilize except in cases where extremely valuable or hard to replace items may be at stake. Cryogenic drying is also referred to as Thermaline.
At the end of the day, the type of drying process you use will depend largely upon the severity of the water damage problem. Your local water damage restoration company is available 24/7 to handle all of your water restoration needs, and they can examine your property and determine the proper course of action for salvaging your property as well as your most valuable possessions.