After the spring storms pass, emergency drying services must prepare for the summer hurricane season. Flooding is one of the most frequent and expensive disasters that the nation endures, whether it comes from heavy rains, poor drainage, broken pipes or rising water levels. Time-sensitive restoration processes require companies to consider which essential pieces of equipment will help clients re-establish a sense of normalcy quickly and effectively.
Essential Equipment for Emergency Drying Services
Desiccant dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and warm it, allowing the air to dry. Coolers built within the dehumidifier then lower the air temperature to a more comfortable level, converting latent heat into sensible heat. Most desiccant dehumidifiers use an external energy source (e.g., natural gas or steam) to regenerate or reactivate the desiccant wheel.
Desiccant systems are particularly useful when the ratio of latent-to-sensible heat is high because it’s more economical than removing the sensible heat. Because a desiccant dehumidifier doesn’t require reheating, you may also use it for conditioned air after it comes out of a coil to achieve comfortable dry-bulb temperatures. Desiccant systems are the most efficient when dealing with below-freezing dew-point temperatures because they don’t depend on the production of water.
Low Grain Refrigerant Dehumidifiers (LGR)
Designed for drying flooded structures, LGR dehumidifiers are one of the most common systems used for emergency drying services. They perform well in warm, humid conditions. An LGR system’s performance depends on air-dry bulb temperatures and air dew-point temperatures. When moist air enters the unit, it passes across the evaporator coil, which cools it, and then over the condenser coil, which heats it. The result is warmer, drier air.
When the moist air passes over the cold evaporator coil, it lowers the air’s temperature so condensation forms and drips into a collection tray. As the surrounding air dries, the dew-point lowers, thus lowering the temperature needed for the evaporator coil to create condensation. A conventional refrigerant dehumidifier unit becomes less efficient as temperatures cool because the evaporator coil doesn’t remove water from the air as effectively. To solve this problem, LGR units have air-to-air heat exchanger, heat pipe or thermal siphon pre-cooling systems.
After a hurricane, the air in an affected are may be ripe with bacteria, chemicals, gases, mold spores, odors, allergens and fungal spores. The use of high-speed air movers to dry carpets, furniture and building materials are great at releasing such particulates into the air. The remedy is an air scrubber, which is a portable air filtration system. It draws in air and passes it through a series of filters that trap harmful particles. When responding to a hurricane- or flood-related disaster, it’s important to make sure the air scrubber’s blower isn’t too powerful for the space in question.
Air scrubbers are stand-alone units that don’t use ducting. Instead, they re-circulate air in a room while removing contaminants. The filters within an air scrubber progressively capture smaller particles. The pre-filter, for example, captures particles that are as small as 10 microns.
In some units, carbon filters follow pre-filters. Carbon filters capture and absorb vapor-phase and gas-phase molecules, which help reduce odors.
The primary filter is part of the final filtration stage in an air scrubber. Filters in this stage capture particles that are as small as 0.3 microns. The best primary filters are those that use HEPA media because they trap up to 99.97 percent of 0.3-micron particles.
Just as emergency drying services advise clients to be prepared for hurricane season, pre-planning and having the right equipment are vital to a disaster restoration company’s success. Polygon has innovative technologies with quick drying times that reduce water damage-related restoration costs by up to 70 percent. We proudly offer these products and our remote monitoring services to restoration contractors and first responders that want to provide clients with quality cost-effect solutions. Contact Polygon today to receive a free estimate.
[Photo from State Farm via CC License 2.0]