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How to dry out a building after a flood?

1. First extract all pooled water. Use an extractor or wet-vacuum.

2. If there are carpets that got flooded, pull them up or get them out completely depending on the severity of the flood.

3. Install blowers and commercial dehumidifiers as soon as possible. Leave the equipment until all surfaces and voids are completely dried out. This will usually take several days, from 2-3 in case of a minor surface flood to 10-20 days in case of significant flooding into walls, floors, or ceilings.

The placement of the equipment is important in order to optimize the drying effort and quickly get rid all trapped and hidden water in ceilings, walls or floor.

Large buildings that experienced flooding need to be dried out with large commercial desiccant dehumidifiers. These units are typically skid or trailer mounted. They are used in large volume air spaces or large building that got flooded over a large area. They are very effective and the method is one of very few options in drying out large structures. Call AQ for information about capacity and prices to rent desiccant dehumidifiers.

The amount of time the equipment is needed depends on several factors: 1. the amount of water that leaked, 2. how much hidden water is present inside ceilings, walls and floor, 3. What type of surfaces is preventing the moisture from evaporating, is there vinyl flooring, floor tiles, water proof vinyl wall paper etc.

4. The drying effort should be recorded and monitored on a regular basis by checking the moisture levels in the different rooms.

5. Track down all moisture before deciding where to place the drying equipment. The most common instrument used to find water in walls is the moisture meter. It is a hand held tool the size of a PDA that indicates moisture when in contact with a wet wall. The newest state-of-the-art instrument available is the Thermal Infrared Camera. The Thermal Infrared Camera is a very expensive instrument. The technician can see wet surfaces displayed on a small TV screen. The wet or moist surfaces appears on the screen and can be recorded with digital images or as video to document damage for insurance or legal purposes. The technician does not need to be in contact with the wall and can scan and locate wetness in a large room in a few seconds. The Thermal Infrared Camera has many advantages. All rooms in a large building can be checked quickly, digital images can be snapped and e-mailed to a client. In only a few hours or days a large hotel or apartment building can be checked. Using a moisture meter the inspector must touch each square inch to check for moisture, therefore he could not effectively check a building even if he would spend a long time trying. Surfaces that is beyond reach can easily be checked with a Thermal Infrared Camera but cannot be checked with a moisture meter. Contact AQ and talk to an Thermal Infrared Camera inspector to discuss you needs, 800-606-8007.

If water is left in building material more than 2-3 days there is a risk that mold will develop and grow. The mold damage may not be visible but may be growing in hidden spaces. There are new testing methods available that can detect hidden mold in buildings. Contact a mold expert for more information,
call 800-606-8007.

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