The Science of Drying Water Damaged Homes and Commercial Buildings
Psychrometrics and Our Structural Drying Method
As the science of structural drying has evolved, Advanced Restoration has learned how to be more effective and efficient in our applications of equipment and energies in order to reduce the moisture content inside any structure on Long Island and New York City. The study of Psychrometry and its applications using the Vortex Drying Method has opened up our understanding of the interaction of moisture, air and building materials to the extent that we can work at manipulating the environment in such a way that it encourages the affected area to yield its moisture quickly and in many cases, with less intrusive means than has been utilized in the past.
In the past a trial and error approach had lead us to conclusions and approaches that were okay for the time, but we realize now that we were overlooking some areas, and focusing too much on others. The traditional approach of tearing up the carpet pad in Category One (See Side Bar) water damage mitigations and floating the carpet to dry it down is a thing of the past. Previously, the focus was on the carpet and carpet pad and not on the walls and structure, or an "inside out" approach to drying. Now with the application of Vortex Drying, and because our focus is on the walls and structure (Outside) and we dry from the "outside in", the carpet and carpet pad (In) are one of the first building materials to dry in the structural drying process.
Simply stated, the science of structural drying is the application of Psychrometry and The Vortex Drying Method to any given water damage cleanup / mitigation to ascertain how best to bring the specific humidity of the ambient air inside the drying chamber down as quickly and efficiently as possible. While also effectively reducing the moisture content levels in the structural & finished building materials and/or personal contents, using themost cost effective applications and technology.
Drying (and Saving!) Water Damaged Building Materials
We Are A Restoration Company. Not A Demolition Company.
There are many media hyped myths about what you have to do with water damaged building materials that have been affected by a clean water intrusion. When it comes to any water damage cleanup / mitigation, it is our goal to get your structure dry as fast and as inexpensive as possible. Most building materials can and will return to their original or stronger condition, if dried quickly and professionally.
Salvaging and drying as much of the wet affected building materials as possible will:
Minimize the overall cost of the claim
Minimizes loss of business interruption
Minimizes the time the structure's occupants are inconvenienced
Closes claims faster
Increases client satisfaction
Wet Building Materials and Drying Chambers: We Only Dry What Is Wet
Wet Always Goes to Dry...When It Can.
Setting up a "Drying Chamber" refers to the process of isolating the wet affected area of a structure, placing in the chamber ONLY the structural drying equipment it takes to dry, while manipulating the ambient temperature to maximixe the efficiency of the dehumidifier to reduce the specific humidity and moisture content levels in the building materials in that area lower than the levels of the unaffected areas around the Drying Chamber.
Simply stated, if the air inside the affected area is drier, the moisture inside the structure will have to come to it. If we are drying a 2000 square foot house where only 800 square foot of the basement is wet, it makes sense to block off the wet area from the other 1200 square feet of living space that is dry. It might be as simple as putting up plastic or closing a door, but by isolating the wet area you are able to place (within the Drying Chamber) the equipment it takes to dry only the wet 800 square feet, instead of 2000 square feet.
This also helps in the hot humid summers of Long Island and significantly raises the temperature in the area you are drying during New York's freezing cold winters.
Not only does this expedite the structural drying process, it reduces noise from the drying equipment if someone is still occupying the unaffected area of the structure. And it also means less equipment, which in turn lowers the cost of the structural dryng process and reduces the necessary energy consumption.
Structural Drying and Wet Building Materials: Long Island and New York City
Drying A Water Damaged Home On Long Island, New York
To take a typical water damage mitigation in a Long Island 1200 sq. ft. finished basement with 7 foot ceilings for example. The hose to the washing machine line split causing water to saturate the entire finished basement. Basement consisted of standard foam padding under a high grade cut-pile carpet, sheetrock walls painted with flat paint with stard 3.5" inch base trim throughout the entire linear footage of the basement. Because the break in the hose was not discovered for a few hours, moisture has started to wick up the walls about eight inches. After our Disaster and Emergency Response Teams elevates all the wood and metal furniture off the carpeting to prevent transfer Staining, water extraction using our Hydro-X Extreme Extractor would be the 1st step in dealing with this type of loss.
Then By Determining:
- This is a Class 2 water damage (See Chart on the Right)
- Cubic Footage of the affected area: 1200SF x 7' Ceiling Height = 8400 CF
- Cubic footage is divided by the Standard Divisor of each Water Class. For this example, the Class 2 divisor is 40. Therefore, 8400 ÷ 40 = 210 Pints @ AHAM is needed for thi water damage mitigation
- AHAM rating of LGR's = 134 pints (Phoenix 200Max LGR)
The quotient is then divided by the AHAM rating to determine how many LGR's are required.
- Linear Footage of affected walls = 96 LF.
We Know That:
- If 210 Pints @ AHAM (dehumidification required for this space) is divided by 134 (Phoenix 200Max AHAM Rating) = 1.55 or 2 Phoenix 200Max LGRs Required. One dehumidifier would not be sufficient.
- Class 2 damage requires axial air movers to be placed in intervals of 14 linear feet on each affected wall. For this example, 7 air movers are required. Each air mover must be positioned at an angle of 22° to the wall surface.
**** For optimum drying on this Case Study, the initial temperature within the drying chamber was kept as close to 90° without going over until the Dew Point Temperature inside the drying chamber dropped below 50°. Because we are working with refrigerant type dehumidifiers (In this case Low Grain Refrigerant Dehumidifiers) which is our standard, once the Dew Point drops below 50° it is best to reduce the temperature inside the drying chamber to as close to 70° degrees as possible without going under to maximize the dehumidifiers efficiency.