Restoration After Water Damage
From flooding and hurricanes to bursting or leaky pipes, water damage can happen anywhere at any time. Different restoration experts handle water damage in different ways, but finding a balance between time, labor, materials, and successful restoration is essential in every case. With new advancements in water damage restoration (WDR) and a careful look into the science, restoration experts can formulate a strategy that is best for their own business, the insurance company, and the homeowners.
Demolition Vs Restoration
Previously, many restorers have opted for demolition and reconstruction in lieu of restoration when water damage was severe. Often in the case of hurricanes and floods, it may seem easier to simply tear out the damaged parts and start from scratch. However, restorers are saving time and money by removing water with the latest equipment. By taking careful moisture readings and strategically placing water extractors, rescue mats, dehumidifiers, blowers, wall dryers, heaters and other equipment, the water can be successfully removed from the walls and floors. With a few days of focused drying and water extraction, then careful restoration on newly dry surfaces, the job can be done in a fraction of the time of demolition and rebuilding. With less expenses, less time, and a finished job that most closely resembles the original state of the property, homeowners, insurance companies, and restoration experts will all be happy.
How to Best Use Heat
To successfully execute WDR instead of demolition, heat and moving air must be properly applied. Heat turns liquid water into water vapor and moving air creates the water vapor pressure differential required to optimize evaporation. While it takes about 1000 BTUs to raise a room temperature 10 degrees Fahrenheit, this doesn’t consider the 1000 BTUs needed to initiate the change from a pint of liquid water to water vapor. The extra energy requirement is driven by the inherent heat removal occurring during evaporation (the reason sweat evaporation cools us down). It is also important to keep in mind the water vapor pressure of the air. High water vapor pressure at the surface of the wet material and low water vapor pressure in the surrounding air will pull water out of the surface faster. Since water vapor pressure is mainly determined by temperature, it is ideal to focus heat on the wet surface and move the heat out (generally with fans) of the surrounding air to create a water vapor pressure differential. Higher heat will speed up the drying process, though it is important not to dry the materials too much under intense heat and go to the other extreme, fire.
Though water damage is not going away, WDR is getting more advanced every day. By carefully assessing the situation and utilizing science to speed up drying, experts can complete the WDR job quickly and effectively.