Water is unpredictable. It can soothe you in a warm bath or damage a building when a natural disaster strikes or a pipe bursts. Because flooding and water damage are not always preventable, it is good to know what drying options exist so you can choose the appropriate construction drying solutions for your needs.
Methods for Drying a Building after a Flood
Water is a destructive force when it penetrates a building. With time, drywall disintegrates, wood warps and electrical components short, compromising the strength and safety of a building. Because water is fluid, it can rapidly spread bacteria, dirt, oil, silt, and other contaminants and organisms. Moisture also promotes mold growth, which can reach harmful levels in as little as 48 hours.
Popular ways to dry flooded buildings include:
- Pumps: Pumps extract standing water, which is beneficial when water does not drain on its own. Their use is one of the first steps when drying a flooded building.
- Natural air circulation: Opening windows and doors after a flooding incident may be effective if the relative humidity level outside is lower than the humidity level inside. This method, however, is the slowest option available because ambient temperatures are not always conducive to drying efforts, even with the use of powerful fans and desiccants.
- Fans: Fans move air and promote its circulation. On their own, they may not be enough to dry a saturated building in a timely manner. They are more effective when combined with appropriate ventilation and other drying methods. It is best to use independent fans and not the building’s air handling or HVAC system when drying a flooded building because you risk damaging the equipment and spreading harmful organisms through the ductwork.
- Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers allow you to dry a flooded building while keeping the windows and doors closed. The most popular types of dehumidifiers to use in a wet building include refrigerant dehumidifiers and desiccant dehumidifiers. Refrigerant dehumidifiers cool the air and extract moisture via condensation. They are most effective when temperatures are between 59°F and 82°F, and relative humidity levels are between 60 and 98 percent. Desiccant dehumidifiers use hygroscopic materials that draw moisture from the air. They are most effective when temperatures are between 32°F and 77°F, and relative humidity levels are 40 to 90 percent. Because of a desiccant dehumidifier’s greater operating range and ability to push dry air into closed spaces, it tends to be more effective than its refrigerant counterpart is.
- Heaters: Heaters are most effective in a flood-affected building when there is adequate air movement and ventilation. Because warm air absorbs more moisture than cool air, the use of heaters promotes evaporation in wet building materials. When the warm air becomes saturated, it must leave the affected space and be replaced with warm, dry air. To assist with this process, heaters often contain fans. One of the best types of heaters to use is an indirect-fired heater because it produces air that’s clean, warm and dry. With the right setup, heaters can be effective at drying a space quickly. However, drying a space too quickly can cause additional problems to building materials.
- Construction drying solutions: Professional construction drying solutions are a combination of fans, heaters, dehumidifiers and ventilation equipment to expedite the drying process while maintaining an environment that won’t cause further damage to building materials. The custom systems provide the fastest, most effective means of drying a space. Their monitoring equipment ensures that components are truly dry, eliminating the risk of mold growth.
When water damages your building, resuming a sense of normalcy as fast as possible is important for your operations and life. Rather than tackle the drying process on your own, seek Polygon’s affordable construction drying solutions as soon as possible. We tailor our solutions to your exact needs, so you can recover quickly, regardless of the conditions outside. Get in touch with Polygon today to learn more and request a complimentary consultation.