Drying Methods & SystemsMitigating water damage by using effective drying solutions is an important part of the total recovery process and selecting the most appropriate technique is the mark of a professional water damage restorer.
Open drying system
Ventilation is increased within a building, which can be done by simply opening windows. For this to work the outside air should be warmer and drier than the inside air.
Closed drying system
All windows and doors are shut and dehumidification equipment is installed to remove and control the evaporated moisture.
Combination drying system
This is where the use of an open drying system is combined with the use of mechanical dehumidification equipment. This system is typically used when conditions change resulting in the outside of the building not always being drier than the inside.
Air exchange and heat drying system
Equipment is used to increase the temperature of the indoor air helping to improve the rate of evaporation from wet structural material, which in turn is extracted from the building.
The warmer air is typically heated and circulated using machinery. The heated air absorbs the evaporated water from the wet structural materials. This is then either pumped out of the building or put through machinery which removes the extra water.
The internal air is cooled below its dew point, which results in condensation appearing on the dehumidifier's internal evaporation coils. Water is then collected and removed from the area being dried, either by automatically pumping it away from the machine, or through containers being removed by hand.
The damp internal air is blown through a desiccant material; this removes moisture by direct absorption and vapour pressure differences. The machine has two outlets; one which blows very dry air back into the building and a second, which blows very wet air out of the building. Water is not collected in its liquid form but is extracted from the area being dried via air movement.
The temperature in the room is increased by re-circulating the room's air through the machine's heating system. Once the internal air has reached a pre-defined temperature or if the relative or specific humidity reaches pre-defined levels, the machine switches to exhaust mode expelling wet air to the outside.
Increasing air movement over the surface of a wet structural material encourages evaporation of the moisture within. Air movement also encourages turbulence within the area being dried, which can make drying equipment and techniques more effective.
When the normal heating system in the building does not work or is insufficient, a secondary heat source may be needed. This is to both achieve the required drying conditions and to accelerate the evaporation of moisture from the structure. Heating systems may also be used to target specific troublesome drying areas as heating the building material directly will encourage evaporation. However, heating alone may be dangerous as uncontrolled evaporation can lead to secondary damage to the building.
Sometimes a wet wall in a single room is the only area that has been damaged. If so, it may be preferable to just dry the air close to the affected wall. This is done by containing the area being dried by using plastic sheeting or specially designed materials, which are attached to the wall or "targeted" area.