The Function Of Air Flow In The Drying Process

Whether drying a large scale commercial job or drying the walls between a home garage and the living space; air movement and reduced relative humidity are required.

Base trim should be removed to accomplish fast and complete drying of walls in homes. Newer homes also have drywall hung ¾ inch off the floor to provide an air space so that:

  • Ina small flood the drywall will not wet unless the water wicks through the base trim. When that trim is plastic the drywall is protected from indirect wicking. When the base trim is wood it takes time to wick up to the drywall.
  • When drying wet drywall the ¾ inch air space allows fans to circulate dehumidified air to the back side of the drywall for drying.

When there is no opening to get air movement to the back of the drywall or the wet materials are overhead; an access hole should be cut in the drywall to allow air movement to the back of wet materials. In situations where the walls cannot be cut, such as tiled walls of faux painting, small holes can be drilled in the wall where they will be covered by the base trim when it is reinstalled. Specialty equipment called “Inject a Dry” uses a manifold fed by air movers and connects to many flexible tubes to push dry air to the back of the wet material surface.

The movement of air across a wet surface creates a “static” pressure at the material surface. This process speeds up the evaporation process and literally pulls the moisture out of wet material. The fan or air mover should be placed at a 15 to 45 degree angle from the wall. The faster the air movement across the surface and the dryer the air the faster the evaporation.

Whether drying a single room or a larger space, a drying envelope must be set up. This is a separation of the wet areas from dry non affected or outside areas to stabilize and control the temperature and humidity for improved drying conditions. A drying envelope can be as simple as 6 mil poly sealing a door way but it should be a small as possible. The dehumidifier will need to process all the air in the envelope to reduce the humidity. Once the moisture is pulled out of the wet materials through evaporation into the air the saturated air in the drying envelope is cycled through an LGR (Low Grain Refrigerant) dehumidifier to keep the relative humidity in the drying envelop as low as possible. This LGR dehumidifier can remove up to 62 pints of water from the air in 24 hours.

The air movers should be set up so that a circular flow of air is produced in the drying envelope. This “Vortex” of air will maximize the static pressure across the wet surfaces and accelerate the lifting force at the surface of the wet materials.

The science of drying, known as Psychometrics, uses the air in a drying chamber like a giant sponge. The air movement pulls the moisture out of the wet materials as a vapor through evaporation into the air. The LGR dehumidifier wrings out the virtual sponge by passing the moist air over cooling coils. This condenses the water out of the air into a collection tank and this water is pumped through a tube into a drain. The process is repeated over and over until the materials are dry.

It takes training and skill to set up an effective drying envelope. The setting of the air movers and dehumidifier are critical to rapid drying. A typical wet room will completely dry in three to five days. Exterior walls may need insulation removed to speed the drying process. Kitchen lower cabinets should have toe kicks removed to allow air movement to the drywall behind the cabinet.In some cases cabinets should be dismounted to dry the wall behind. Linoleum over wet materials may need to be removed to accomplish drying of the floor beneath. Wood floors can be dried if done with skill and proper methods. Composite flooring or flooring mounted on cork or another absorbent material will need to be removed to accomplish complete drying.

A qualified Water Removal Technician “WRT” will also know how to monitor the drying process as it occurs. This technician will adjust the placement of air movers and take moisture readings with specialized equipment to maximize the speed and effectiveness of the drying process.

Always call a water damage company who hires and trains Water Damage Technicians. Look for IICRC accreditation and the designation “WRT” and “CMR” certified Mold Remediator”. The best Water Damage Company will follow the industry guidelines and dry out your property quickly and thoroughly to minimize property damage.Also fast expert service is essential to ensuring that mold growth will not occur and for the health and safety of your family.

Be sure to hire the best Water Damage and Mold Remediation Company in your area.  

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