When removing water from commercial and residential buildings you must understand the science of drying. The science of drying requires understanding of thermodynamic properties of air and water vapor mixtures. Measuring and evaluating these properties enables restorers to better analyze and manage conditions during drying. Rapid drying requires the proper equipment and understanding of the elements listed below.
Although equilibrium is not the primary goal in structural drying, the forces that continually seek this state are the same forces used to achieve drying goals. Managing psychrometric conditions influences the rate at which moisture moves from wet building materials to the air, when seeking equilibrium. The objective of drying is to minimize the amount of time materials spend in an abnormally wet state. This time can be reduced by better understanding the forces that move moisture through materials.
Evaporation is the transfer of moisture from water damaged building materials to the air. This can be achieved by rapid air-movement by using high velocity air-movers. When a building suffers from water damage the humidity inside the building goes up. Because of the the wet building materials inside, the moisture has no place to go once the materials are saturated. Elevated humidity levels means excess moisture in the air which leads to secondary water damaged building materials. For example, water may flood a building as a result of a plumbing malfunction but only go 6 to 12 inches up the drywall. The elevated moisture within the air-space of the building will rise causing wet air to damage upper cabinets and other building materials that were not actually touched by water. Elevated moisture levels or elevated Relative Humidity or (RH) can lead to mold contamination in areas of the dwelling that were not actually touched by water. The best way to reduce elevated (RH) is the installation of dehumidifiers. Dehumidification is the process of removing moisture from the air. In closed drying systems dehumidifcation is essential for removing evaporated moisture from the air to minimize or prevent secondary water damage.
Once structural drying is completed and the drying goal is achieved, inspection of damages is performed. Building materials such as drywall can lose structural integrity once damaged by water. Often times insurance companies think that drywall can be saved once dried however, if the structural integrity of the drywall has been compromised it should be replaced. Drywall is considered to be a porous and should always be removed if the category of water is 2 or 3 (which means it is an unclean source). Drywall that is contaminated with mold should always be removed no matter the situation.