Restorative drying is a complicated process that relies on extensive knowledge, expertise, customer service, and perhaps most importantly, science. As a restoration contractor, your most powerful tool is information. Constantly gathering and interpreting data from a job site allows you to use the most efficient and effective drying methods.
Why do water and air temperature matter?
Restorers remove abnormal amounts of water from built environments by extraction and evaporation. We can increase evaporation one of three ways; warm the wet materials, use drier air, and by moving air more rapidly across wet surfaces.
However, simply applying large amounts of heat to a structure and walking away is not enough. You also need to:
- Repeatedly measure the temperature of the air within the structure.
- Measure the surface temperature of materials throughout the process.
Some materials are susceptible to permanent damage at higher temperatures. Conversely, if you don’t manage the ambient temperatures in wet environments, the potential of secondary damages such as microbial growth and physical damage is highly likely.
Therefore, a combination of removing water, warming materials, creating an optimal drying environment and moving air across surfaces creates the optimal conditions to dry your structure.
Air temperature guidelines to remember
Maintaining the proper air temperature doesn’t just ensure optimal drying conditions. It also maintains the safety of the people who still occupy the unaffected areas and ensures your drying equipment is running at its optimal efficiency.
Here are some guidelines to remember when it comes to air temperature:
- An appropriate structural drying temperature range is usually between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Low Grain Refrigerant or LGR dehumidifiers operate most effectively between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While they may remove moisture outside of these ranges, the restorer will most often find success in these temperature ranges.
Material temperature guidelines to remember
Temperatures on surfaces within a structure can vary widely. Materials can also differ in temperature when compared to the air, especially when it comes to exterior walls, HVAC ducts, and areas of a building where temperatures are not controlled through the HVAC system. That is why it’s so important to take frequent material temperature measurements (do it at the same time you take moisture readings).
Here’s how overly warm or cool material temperatures can impact the efficiency and effectiveness of your restoration work:
- If the temperature is too low, ambient air may reach its dew point temperature, causing water vapor to condense on surfaces leading to further damages.
- Some materials, such as vinyl or plastic, can melt or crack and become permanently damaged if they get too hot.
- Drying a material like wood flooring too quickly can result in a dry surface with moisture trapped in the interior, this also referred to as “checking”
In the end, taking frequent, accurate air and material temperature measurements will enable you to identify the best drying methods, ensuring your water restoration process is as precise and effective as possible.
Encircle Hydro: field data at your fingertips
The air and material temperatures discussed here are only a small part of the complex process of restoring a property after a water-related disaster. Calculations, documentation, tracking, and reporting on your efforts are all critical parts of ensuring an excellent drying result and accurate and complete reports to ensure you’re compensated.
Water damage restoration requires ample documentation to justify your actions in the field, but more importantly when done with Encircle Hydro it actually helps you dry the building. Encircle Hydro is like having a water damage expert in your back pocket who is helping you to avoid common errors and assists you in collecting all the critical information. Hydro guides you through what otherwise could be an overwhelming process of collecting the data while restoring the property. You and your team will have everything you need to scope the mitigation, establish your drying goals, create your drying plan and determine what equipment you need and where it should be placed. This means that collecting moisture readings and taking psychrometric readings will actually tell you when things are wrong on the job site.
Ready to get the help you need to make these tough water jobs easier? Make restorative drying simple with Encircle Hydro.