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Water Damage - The Benefits of Advanced Drying Procedures

In the past, contractors had few options available to them when performing water-damage restoration. Equipment was limited in its availability, variety, efficiency, and effectiveness. Mitigating damage and restoring structures to a pre-loss condition often proved ineffective. A common and accepted practice among contractors was simply to remove and discard damaged carpet, padding, and drywall. Of course, that required installing new replacements, resulting in additional cost and time for insurers, contractors, and homeowners.

Today, the “science of drying” has improved significantly. Water-damaged carpeting, pads, and drywall often can be completely restored instead of replaced - sometimes in better condition than they were in prior to the damage.

Powerful Moisture Extraction Techniques

Today’s powerful extraction equipment is far more effective at removing moisture than wet/dry vacuums - a common practice used for moisture removal in times past. In fact, many tests have proven that with today’s extraction equipment, water can be extracted through carpeting, leaving the underlying pad slightly moist, but not wet. Today’s highly efficient techniques keep repair costs down and drying times to a minimum. This means that all of the costs related to the former method can be avoided, such as:

  • Turning back and/or removing carpet
  • Removing, discarding, and replacing the pad
  • Replacing new carpet or relaying the old
  • Long-term disruption for the homeowner
  • Quicker drying also means less time for mold or other fungi to develop or colonize. This helps alleviate possible health problems (including respiratory discomfort and allergic reactions) that occur as a result. Organic decay caused by fungi and mildew can weaken structural materials such as drywall and wood framing to the point that they must be replaced. Quick drying, through the use of advanced dehumidification systems, robs these harmful agents of moisture - a primary requirement for their growth. With little or no moisture present, mold and mildew either do not start or die very quickly.

    Another benefit of rapid moisture removal is the prevention of irreversible swelling in porous materials such as paper and wood, shrinkage in some fabrics (such as upholstery and drapes), metal rusting (doorknobs and hinges), and electronic equipment that could fail with high levels of humidity.

    Using modern, state-of-the-art equipment returns a structure and its contents to a pre-damaged condition as quickly as possible. Some of these latest technologies include:

    LGR Dehumidifiers

    A restoration professional will use Low Grain Refrigerant (LGR) Dehumidifiers to reduce relative humidity to as low as 15%, removing up to 15 gallons of water from the air per day of operation. Older dehumidifiers struggled to reduce relative humidity to 40%, pulling perhaps 5 gallons of moisture from the air per day. This disparity represents a vast improvement in efficiency, resulting in faster drying times (24 to 48 hours as opposed to four or more days with other methods).

    Desiccants

    In the right setting, a restoration professional will turn to a Desiccant Dehumidifier. Desiccants use materials such as silica gel that absorbs moisture from air. Desiccant dehumidifiers generate extremely dry air (down to 5%) and very warm temperatures (up to 100.F). When necessary, they operate very effectively, even if the environment is below freezing. New technology allows these units to operate using standard household 110-volt circuits . making their use appropriate for residential, as well as commercial settings.

    Forced Air

    Another group of moisture-eliminating equipment that a professional will employ dries the inside of walls without removing drywall. In this process, baseboards are removed and small holes are drilled through walls near the base. Air is then forced into the cavity behind the wall. This dramatically reduces drying time for the wall - often to less than half of what it would take to dry it by other methods. The forced air approach also works for certain types of insulation, again eliminating the need to remove drywall in order to gain access. This method is especially appropriate when water damage originates from above the room being treated. In many cases, it is the only way to effectively save the walls.

    Experience Counts

    Knowledgeable restoration contractors such as PuroClean Home Rescue (866-722-7876) invest in the latest equipment and know the most effective and efficient ways to remove moisture and dry structures and contents. That means the home is returned to a pre-damaged state more quickly - minimizing all related costs and inconvenience, along with any additional living expenses for the insurance company and homeowner.