Water Damage Building Drying

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Water Damage Drying

Water Damage Building Drying – Water Damage were contacted by a client who had suffered a class 3 loss with category 1 water.

The water storage tank on the roof had split and filled the roof like a swimming pool. The flat roof had parapet walls on all four sides of it and all the drains were blocked from leaves and debris. This meant that the water sat on the roof and put immense pressure on its surface, particularly in areas where depressions had formed.

The property was an American style home at the rear of a farm which had been built as an office building not less than 14 years prior to the incident. The building was raised and had a crawl space underneath and an above ground level, 4ft deep, basement used for wine and general storage. The water on the roof had gradually found ingress points and had begun leaking through the ceiling.

Eventually these points opened up, and the entire roof plateau of water poured into the building. We were given 4 days to dry the property, and arrived within5 hours the water starting to gush through. The following are some preliminary photographs of that we took and that were provided by the clients. The clients had already removed almost all valuables including computers, desk chairs, screens, pictures and other wall mounted objects, before we arrived. The electricity had fortunately not tripped out; YET!

Water Damage arrived at the Scene

Water Damage .co.uk  arrived at the scene equipped with a 1100cc Nissan Diesel pump engine capable of high powered suction so that the basement could be drained as quickly as possible and weighted Hoovers could be attached so that the water could be sucked out of the carpets. Not all of the water would be removed this way, but the bulk of the water would be.

4 IIRCR Water Damage Restoration Technicians attended the scene on day one, all qualified and experienced in Applied Structural Drying; one operative was also a qualified Thermal Imaging Specialist but such technology was not subsequently required.

Small round stickers were stuck to the wall where the water damage area ended and every day new reading were taken and different colour stickers were added so that we could monitor the reduction in moisture as it slowly left the walls. This was not as easily done with regard to the brick walls and different technology was used to dry them. All of the electricity was turned off immediately we arrived on site. Our foreman produced a risk assessment and then addressed everyone including the clients as to the findings of this assessment.

All electrical points were taped off so that any water or water vapour would be restricted from entering. It was essential that no sitting water was present before the electricity could be turned back on and used. Then truck mounted generator was turned on and our team used weighted wet hoovers to suck as much moister out of the carpets in ever room starting in the middle of the room so that water would be drawn away from the edges into the center.

Water Damage Drying Process

Thermo-hygrometers were placed all around the site so that the drying process could be monitored and informed decisions could be made as to whether the building required open or closed drying (whether outside humidity was lower than inside humidity and the building would benefit from having the windows and doors open). These were then monitored twice per day and all information was recorded. The data taken from these was also used to help us understand how the drying process was progressing in each room. Moisture content Tramex’s were used to moisture map and establish how far up the walls water had wicked in rooms which were class 1 and class 2 loss only.

Once the bulk of the water had been removed, we were able to turn off the pump and move the truck out of the way. We could then remove the underlay. The carpets varied in makeup from room to room. One room had a 90% wool carpet and therefore removing it was not an option as the weave would almost certainly denature and shrink; drying that in place therefore our only option. The other carpets could have their underlay removed and disposed of; underlay often takes too long to dry and sometimes its made of such synthetic materials that it is almost impossible to extract the water completely. We removed the underlay and disposed of it and then put the carpet back on the grab rails so that it did not lose its shape.

Carpet Floating Fans

We then set up powerful carpet floating fans and lifted opposing corners of the carpets so that they could be held down to the ground and a powerful, constant supply of air could be passed beneath the bottom of the carpet and the wooden sub-floor. Such pressure would help speed up the drying process of both the carpet and the wood; new underlay could be fitted once the carpet had been dried and was no longer at risk of denaturing. The woolen carpet was restored to its original condition and did not denature in any way. Air movers and dehumidifiers were also placed above the carpet level so that the air movers (which were pointed at 45 degrees to all wet walls) could blow surface moisture into the air from the bricks and stud work and the refrigerant dehumidifiers would pick it up. This was day one drying efforts complete; we then left this to dry overnight.

Water Damage Restoration, and Drying Day 2:

The basement was tanked so it required drying in a different way. Over night the electricity blew and no drying happened. This set us back so we decided to use a powerful heat trailer to dry the building much faster. The heat trailer is diesel powered and has an inlet fan and an outlet heater. The heat coming out of it is almost unbearable so refrigerant dehumidifiers would just plain not work whilst this was installed. Hot air rises, and warm air can hold more moisture. This means that the lower down the heat input, the greater good it would do and the higher up the dehumidifiers needed to be. Instead of refrigerants, we placed desiccant dehumidifiers and low grain dehumidifiers which worked at much greater temperatures, in the room and placed the outlet flues out of the cat flap and out of the windows. Some rooms were able to contain refrigerant dehumidifiers still as they were to be lesser affected by the heat trailer. We therefore ran the desiccant flues straight into the back of the dehumidifiers. The buckets on the remaining dehumidifiers required emptying regularly; this was no change to the situation prior.

Water Damage Restoration, and Drying Day 3:

The building began to quickly dry using this technology, and we were able to monitor this and prove it by measuring the moisture in the walls with a moisture content reader, a tramex, the thermal imaging camera (for moisture mapping), and most importantly, with the thermo-hygrometer. However, the brick cavity wall with the cavity wall insulation was the hardest to material to dry. We had to come up with a more intuitive drying system if we were to successfully dry these materials and this cavity. We already had helix fans pointing at 45 degrees to the walls and dehumidifiers positioned close by, but we had made small holes in the brick and places sleeves in there so we could take equilibrium humidity readings and monitor the dryness of the walls. These readings were not looking good!

Day 3; we decided to remove he skirting board and drill several of holes into the brickwork that could be easily filled once the drying had finished. Gravity is our friend during water damage jobs and therefore if we pumped hot air in from a desiccant using a compressor, we could dry the cavity from the inside and capture the air coming out with the refrigerant dehumidifier. The setup can be seen below. The skirting board could be placed back on and no one would see the holes or the fillings.

Water Damage Restoration, and Drying Day 4:

Day 4; we returned to find that the house had successfully been dried in under 4 days thank to the heat trailer and our desiccant injection system. Our thermo-hygrometers were checked and the readings documented to ensure that the humidity of the property was acceptable all around. Final readings were taken;  Tramexs and moisture content meters were used to moisture map and establish if the walls were still wet, and how far up (they were now dry). The thermal imaging camera was used to compare to the images taken on day two, and the equilibrium relative humidity of the concrete floor in the basement and under the carpets was measured after 48 hours using an appropriate British Standard measuring system (this can be seen below). All in all, the building was thoroughly dry and therefore reparation works could begin.

Water Damage Final Day and Repair Work:

Building Response moved in within 24 hours to decorate and rebuild saturated and ruined kitchen units, as well as replace the underlay and fill inspection holes. The property was restored to its former condition and all within 7 days. The occupants were very pleased, and the insurance company did not have to spend vast sums of money on replacement office accommodation.

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