Convectant drying has emerged in the last few years as an alternative to conventional drying techniques.
Convectant drying is an “open system” incorporating heat and air movement to provide positive air pressure with high heat and therefore low relative humidity. One hundred percent outside air is heated and repeatedly exchanged with the saturated air from the building. Convectant drying heats outside air and therefore requires cool dry air to reach maximum potential.
Knowing the conditions, limitations, and benefits will help you select the proper drying/dehumidification tool.
Refrigerant dehumidifiers, conventional Operation range 65F to 90F (18°C to 32°C). Temperatures above or below are out of the effective range. Inexpensive, portable, easy to set up. If used properly and in sufficient quantities can reduce RH to 60%. Average amp draw per dehumidifier 7 amps.
Low Grain Refrigerants (LGR’s) Effective in lower temperature conditions than conventional refrigerants. Manufacturers claim 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity levels to 40%RH. Average amp draw is 10 amps. More expensive and more labor intensive than conventional dehumidifiers. Can be an effective structural drying tool.
Desiccant dehumidifiers Work on the principle of absorption. Wet air is attracted to moisture absorbent material. Operation range from 10F to 90F. Excellent structural drying tool, can lower RH to 5%. Does not operate on the principles of heat and therefore can be used year round in all environments.
Clean water loss: The result of the entry of potable water into a structure.
The greatest savings can be achieved here, so long as action is quickly taken. Most contents can be saved, little to no damage will be sustained as a result of contact with clean water. Time is your greatest ally. Act quickly. Savings include: Carpet, pad, floors, walls, contents.
Gray Water Loss: Clean water loss left for more than 72 hours or unsanitary water source, groundwater, etc.
Tremendous savings here too - if you act quickly. Wood floors can still be saved. Many items can be dried, cleaned and/or disinfected.
When a problem is encountered the following steps are key: Source of the water must be stopped. Removal of standing water. Physical extraction. Drying/dehumidification must begin immediately to keep unaffected areas and contents from becoming part of the loss. Relative Humidity levels maintained at over 60% for a period of 48-72 hours will provide a favorable condition for mold growth. Get the RH under control. Get it documented.
Physical factors to consider: Outside temperature and humidity. Electrical power available - how much? Heating and/or cooling system operational? Restoration: Costs and benefits. What can be saved? What is the value of saving it? What will it cost to save it? What is the benefit of saving it? No matter what method of drawing you choose the building structure must be dried as quickly as possible.