Let’s say you come home to find water everywhere. What do you do? The first thing is to identify where the water is coming from, then stop it. Unless you end the flow of water into your home, drying it becomes fruitless. After you do this, you move onto the topic of drying water damage. The information below will serve as a comprehensive guide to doing so properly.
Table of Contents
- Identifying Water Damaged Areas
- Use the Right Tools for the Job
- What Fans are Best for Drying Out Spaces?
- The Importance of Monitoring Moisture Levels
Identifying Water Damaged Areas
Now that the influx of water into your home or office has been stopped, the next thing to do is identify water-damaged areas. What parts of your home have been impacted by the flood? Check the walls, floors, ceilings, pipes, and even the basement (if you have one.) Not only are you looking for visible water damage, you also want to check for mold spores. Even small amounts of water or mold signifies a problem. Therefore, check your home or business space thoroughly. You may want to have several people split up and examine the facility as a team.
Increase Air Circulation
This is critical because you must remove all water as well as any impurities. It is also necessary to adjust the temperature in the home or office space. Additionally, you want to allow all material-based products to dry out completely. This increase in air circulation can be a combination of natural methods and mechanically driven methods.
Move Air Naturally
The very next thing to do is increase the air’s natural circulation in your office or home. This will help dry out the water. Open all the windows and doors to allow fresh air to totally engulf the space. You will also want to open all closet and cabinet doors, and remove all drawers to allow them to ventilate. If your children have toy boxes, open them up, remove all the toys, and let the fresh air reach them too. If you are in an office with a supply room, be certain fresh air can get in there as well.
Move Air Mechanically
Acquire many high-powered, air circulator fans and place them throughout the business or house. You want these fans to blow as much air as possible directly onto the wet area. Do not use HVAC at all, especially if you suspect the system was underwater. The fans should be placed strategically throughout the home, particularly in rooms where the water damage is visible. If you have ceiling fans in your facility, turn them all on the highest speeds they can go. The same advice is pertinent for air conditioners, as long as they are a window or portable model. Once again though, do no use your HVAC.
Use the Right Tools for the Job
This is important, as using the wrong tools will make the drying process futile. The types of tools you need to have are discussed below. Your local home improvement store associate can advise you of any additional helpful tools you can buy. He or she may recommend different correct tools for office or business spaces.
When a dehumidifier is used to dry a flooded area, it condenses the moisture in the room into a liquid form. The idea is to remove all moisture in that room before any repairs are to be made. Make sure you have ample collection pans on the floor prior to doing this. The dehumidifier also assists in removing moisture-associated odors from the room. Ideally, you should have one in each affected room.
In order to effectively dry out the basement, a sump pump ought to be utilized. Many homes are built with one already in the basement. If your home does not have this, go buy one. The purpose of a sump pump is to pump out water from the lowest part of the home; ie, the basement. If your home does not have a basement, it is likely other rooms comprise the lowest part of the dwelling. In that case, place the sump pump in there. Make certain all water is removed from these rooms before attempting to clean up. The proper steps may differ if the sump pump is to be used in a commercial building.
Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
A good tip is to always have at least one of these available. You never know when you will need one. The larger your home or office, the larger the wet/dry vacuum should be. Follow the instructions on how to use it to remove water from floors and upholstery. There are many places to buy a wet/dry vacuum. The sales associate can also give you some directions on cleaning up a flooded area, whether it is of a residential or commercial nature.
We briefly touched on this earlier. While it is true you can use a regular pedestal fan for this, it is better to use this kind of fan in smaller rooms. For larger rooms and/or heavily water-damaged rooms, a huge industrial-type, high-powered fan needs to be used, such as a whole room fan. If you do not already have one, you can pick one up in any home improvement store or a large hardware store. In fact, it is good to have several of these on hand. You will need the extra strength this type of fan has to properly dry out your home.
Remove Sodden Objects from Your Home
The next logical step is to completely remove all wet items from your home. This includes items such as furniture and boxes. Do not forget clothing, linens, rugs, stuffed toys, etc. If you are drying a business space, do not forget your office supplies. This can be paper or copier/printer ink or any other valuable office supplies. Whatever you do, DO NOT simply move all these items to another room in the facility. All this will do is spread mold or mildew everywhere. Instead, take these items directly outside and as far away from the structure as you can get. It is advisable to put whatever of these items you can into plastic bags. This helps keep mold from spreading while you are relocating them.
Use Desiccants to Absorb Moisture
What is a desiccant? It is basically a drying agent that removes moisture from the air. The moisture is actually transmitted inside special barrier bags. Another function of the desiccant is to get rid of any residual humidity in the air. Desiccants can come in a couple of forms: clay, silica gel and a paper form. Your home improvement specialist at the store can assist you in determining what kind you need. The desiccants can be used in business spaces too.
What Fans Are Best for Drying Out Spaces?
We already talked about the use of fans to dry a wet home. Now we will take a more in-depth look at the kinds of fans there are and if any one kind works best.
A blower fan is the most accessible type. It is easy to maneuver and projects a powerful blast of air in whatever direction it is pointed. They come in all sizes and strengths. It is possible to have an indoor model for small water clean-ups. For massive water elimination projects, blower fans are available in several large-scale models. They are reasonably priced if you need to buy a few of them.
High Velocity Dry Out Fans
These fans are specifically designed for eliminating water from a flooded home or business facility. People who live in flood-prone areas typically have at least one high velocity fan on hand. After the visible water is removed from the premises, floors and walls could still be wet when they are touched. In these instances, high velocity fans are quite effective for drying them. It can take awhile, so be patient and allow the fans to do their job.
Industrial Drum Fans
These are available in two basic types, standard drum fans and power plus drum fans. Within each of these basic drum fan types, a few sizes are offered. They are very large fans designed for extremely large spaces. Residential examples could be massive, multi-section homes. Commercial examples include a warehouse or even an extremely big call center. If you are drying a structure of this size, several of these kinds of fans will work wonders.
The Importance of Monitoring Moisture Levels
This is an important thing to do, both before and after cleaning up water damage. You must be sure the home or office is completely dry before you begin repairs and clean-up. If you do not, it will only become necessary for you to repeat your efforts again and again.
After water damage is resolved and all clean-up has been completed, you do still need to monitor the facility for moisture. This is needed to be sure there were no lasting effects from the flood. Examples would be mold, cracks in the structure, damp spots on the walls or ceilings.
How Do You Monitor Moisture Levels of a Structure?
First look for visible signs, such as those we just noted. There might be condensation on windows, or peeling wallpaper that can be lifted off the wall. Floors, walls, or ceilings can feel damp or cold even if there is a mild temperature outside the home or office. A musty, damp smell in the air is another leading indicator, especially if it occurs close to the wall or in the flooring.
If you have identified these occurrences in your building, there are some steps you can take. Be sure your bathrooms and kitchen have exhaust fans installed. Once again, break out the dehumidifiers. Close off and seal all duct and air leaks. Obtain some houseplants known for their ability to absorb moisture. If you have a crawl space, utilize a plastic barrier to cover dirt flooring.
It is pertinent to note a certain level of moisture in your home or office is fine. Experts say between five and twelve percent is okay. Even seventeen percent is not a reason to be alarmed. If you do notice this, it is perfectly acceptable. Continually monitoring the environment will allow you to keep track of your moisture level. If you suspect trouble, have a professional come in and give you his or her opinion.
There is a tendency to panic when you arrive at your destination and there is a flood. Especially if you are not in a flood-prone area of the world. It is possible to take care of this yourself and not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars. Also remember you have friendly home improvement store associates who are skilled in these matters. They can give you some readable instructions as well. Good luck.