Water damage takes time to dry out
There are many aspects of water damage that require expert evaluation, but the most important step in recovering from water damage is recognizing what it takes for the area to be restored.
During an average home inspection, an inspector will note which areas need drying and which ones still have moisture present.
He or she will also check to see if the source of water is within your plumbing system or outside of it. When removing excess water, you want to recognize quickly whether it was coming from inside the house or from somewhere outdoors.
In addition to inspecting the room itself, pay attention to any patterns surrounding the water. If there’s one smoky mirror in the room, then that could mean there’s been a flooding issue before.
But if this is the only mirror in the room, then that might indicate something more serious. Find another way to tell if these rooms were previously flooded.
The smell of damp plaster sometimes gets people very concerned. Whether it has already dried or not, it can often help locate other sources of dampness.
Wet areas absorb humidity and require ventilation
Ventilation is the process by which air is allowed into areas that are sealed off, such as rooms, containers, and buildings. Without outside airflow, the interior of the area will continue to accumulate moisture.
The more permeable the material is that surface you’re ventilating in, the faster the air can move inside. Permeability is what defines how “open” your home is, especially if it has not been treated with vapor barrier or window openings have never been closed up.
Depending upon the overall health of your house and how long you wait before sealing off all entrances, the amount of time required for the building to dry out should be between 30 minutes and several days.
During this period, all remaining water should evaporate from any leaky spots (such as foundation cracks), but gutters and roof vents may need to be turned on longer to compensate.
Once the entire structure has dried out, then tape up plastic sheeting along the perimeter to prevent further damage from occurring. More often than not, mold is also an issue that needs addressing, either way after washing the floors these items need to get removed now.
Direct sunlight speeds the drying process
Most building damage from water exposure takes place just after a flood or other environmental concern (e.g., lightning). When flooding occurs, it is very difficult for buildings to remove their excess moisture fast enough.
For example, if a homeowner sees that there has been some recent rain in his area, he can turn off the tap within minutes. But once the water system resumes normal operation, it will take several hours before the pipes have time to dry out.
Similarly, when an aquarium tank fills with fresh water, removing the air bubbles becomes increasingly more difficult as the tank continues to fill up. At this stage, the fish are exposed to a growing risk of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and dehydration.
It is important to remember that even without excessive rainfall, liquid carries water molecules into space. Over time, the number of water molecules declines. Whether through evaporation or leaking, water loss occurs whenever two things touch outer contact the surface below.
That includes brick and mortar structures, which may be built incorrectly or put under extreme pressure from heavy storms. In extremely hot environments, sweat and transpiration pull water away from inside the body.
In fact, one of the most common signs of wet insulation (drywall/jacketing) is missing condensation. Condensation helps indicate that the temperature within the wall was higher at some point during the day than the climate-controlled room settings.
Factor in how long it’s been since the rain fell
Everything takes longer to dry out after a flood, including water damage. The more continuously water is running into your system, the longer it will take to drain off.
This is why early identification and treatment of flooding is so important. Start by opening any closed doors that are causing moisture to enter your home.
Close up windows and use air conditioning if you live in a hot area. If you have a swimming pool, let it empty completely before returning to work or school.
After removing all the bottled water from the house, wash off thousands of gallons of standing water using a hose with wheels. Remove trash and dirt from floors while they are drying out.
Repeat these steps again when you go back inside. This time, try not to make mistakes. It can be difficult to differentiate between wet and dry areas.
Closing holes and leaving objects where they were able to absorb the water is best practice. Also consider putting things like masks and gloves into washed-out closets and cabinets that contain dishes.
Don’t let water sit in your tank for too long
In most cases, drinking water can be re-used immediately as long as there are no contaminants in it.
However, if you discover contaminated water inside one of your tanks, don’t leave it sitting around longer than necessary.
That’s because each time water touches metal, minerals, or elements within the soil (be they organic or inorganic), some of that energy is transferred from the liquid into the material.
When several layers of metals are placed next to each other creating an enclosure, the energy lost through this transfer accelerates the process of what eventually will lead to rusting.
To prevent this from happening, the fluid should be drained out before the area becomes rusted. Besides being unsanitary, leaving debris inside the container increases the risk of spread of bacteria and viruses.
Take the dry way out
There are many ways to help your home become more energy efficient, but one of our favorite strategies is adjusting how you handle water. If you have ever found that your house is drier than normal or that bugs are having a hard time living in it, then the issue is probably moisture intrusion.
This can be caused by numerous things including heavy rains, floods, excess dampness due to heating or cooling systems, etc. The good news is that once this moisture is removed, everything will feel better and be less humid.
There are two main methods for removing moisture from your home include drying and repairing leaks. For most homes, replacing old ducts or piping is also required.
However, if you have wells, there is no point in doing any pumping when the problem can easily be fixed by digging deeper. See a professional about how to do this in your area.
Airborne germs that were trapped in the water can infect your air system
When you open the door to a room flooded by water, you risk bringing in bugs and other pathogens- viruses, bacteria, molds, and fungi-that have hidden themselves within the droplets or particles of moisture in the air.
These invisible contaminants can grow if they are provided with the right conditions (warmth, humidity, etc.).
When you close the door, these organisms continue to live off their stored energy until such time as they die out or are removed.
That could take days/weeks depending on the level of pollution in the room.
Similarly, when people talk, there is an exchange of airborne particulates which may contain microbes or other biota.
Particulate matters are size measures used to describe how many microns in diameter a substance is.
Microbes are living units that commonly make up dust motes found in ambient (from outside) environments.
Humans create additional particles through mechanical activities like breathing, smoking, and walking around buildings.
Occupants contribute to indoor particle levels through activities such as cooking and opening doors and windows.
Surprisingly, some researchers feel that bedrooms are where we should stop focusing our attention for reducing exposure. They suggest that due to the low ventilation rates and low movement rates we impose upon ourselves, that bedrooms be made completely free of microorganisms.
Money should be spent on cleaning and repairing the water damage
There are many things that need to be done when water gets into your home, including putting up dampeners, turning off the electricity, and calling an emergency service.
These are all important steps that should be taken as soon as possible to limit any damage or loss of content.
It is difficult to estimate how long it will take to dry out after water damage, but people can change around their schedule to let the water settle from someone else’s perspective.
There are also items like tarps, extension cords, fans, and humidity sensors that can help facilitate recovery.
Many areas have a window of time where drying out a room takes less effort than building infrastructure to create a breathable atmosphere.
Generally, 24 hours will pass before efforts can begin in humid conditions to reduce heating and cooling costs. Without intervention, flooding can occur due to excess moisture and ground water which could worsen the situation.
Run your humidifier for at least 2 hours daily
If you live in a dry climate, run your humidifier every day to increase the moisture in the air.
Humidifiers have special vents that control how much water vapor they release into the atmosphere.
If yours does not have these controls, then set it up as directed by the manufacturer.
You can also buy portable misting systems that will give you a similar effect. They spray the moisture into the air to help speed up the drying process.
Either of these options are good ways to get more moisture in the air you breathe. The hotter the room, the faster the humidity will change.
That means the longer this takes to happen, the better your room needs to be designed. A professional is needed to evaluate the size of each room because space restrictions do matter.
But overall, you want the rooms to feel comfortable, balanced with enough ventilation so the heating or cooling system has something to work with.