Specialized water damage restoration equipment, and some examples on how it’s used!
Equipment used for water mitigation is not always easy to categorize. Sometimes the piece of equipment is unusual and does not fit under tools, air movers, extraction equipment, or dehumidifiers, but in its own category all together. Often in the industry of water damage specialists, this category is referred to as specialty equipment. Specialty equipment is a general term, and encompasses many types of equipment.
Heating equipment is one category of specialty equipment, and can include its own variety of equipment. Space heaters common to many homes are not good pieces of heating equipment. Fuel type space heaters have the problem of exhaust gasses, even when carbon monoxide is not involved; moisture is a common byproduct of many combustion reactions. This makes fuel type space heaters a bad choice for drying a structure. An alternative is a fueled heat exchange furnace, such as the Dragon by Dri-Eaz. This heat exchange furnace sits outside the structure and pumps heated air into the structure through ducts. A potential problem with this is security, as mentioned with commercial desiccants here, the fact the air has to be pumped in from outside make security a concern to be dealt with.
Other heaters use electricity. Electric space heaters commonly found in homes tend to used too much power, leaving less for use by the air movers and dehumidifiers needed to dry the structure. Many professional heating equipments today uses the 220 outlet for the stove or dryer in the home, leaving the other power circuits for the dehumidifier and air movers use.
How we fix water damage from hardwood floors
Another heating system is a heat exchange boiler system. It heats a liquid element in an outside trailer and pumps it to a heat exchange unit inside the home. This system has a similar function as the electric use version but will only use the structures power for running the air mover attached to the heat exchanger. This system has a similar flaw as the heat exchange furnace above, but the piping system is much smaller, so solving this problem is usually easier. Because the standard electric heaters are often sufficient for a project, the boiler system is something I would only recommend for larger losses.
As mentioned above and here on the air mover page, power is an issue to be aware of on any loss. Many homes still use fuses instead of breakers. Homes are wired differently and power issues are a common problem. Sometimes a large amount of drying equipment is needed and the circuits in the home cannot support it. What is commonly referred to as a spider box is a piece of equipment that has become quite common. It is essentially a bank of outlets on individual breakers powered from a 220 outlet, such as a stove or electric dryer. This will give an additional 20 to 50 Amps to the tech for drying equipment use, and it is often used in conjunction with a generator.
Using the homes own electric power is not always an option. If the home’s own electrical system is damaged then the only option might be to bring in a generator to supply the needed power. As with other systems mentioned, security is a concern because cords need to be run into the structure from outside. As mentioned above, a generator is often used with a spider box. A couple of things to think about with the use of a generator is power output and fuel consumption. You need to know how much power can be used from a generator and how often the fuel tank needs to be refilled in order to maintain continual use.
Wood floor drying is one area that uses specialty equipment. A wood floor drying system usually includes mats, air tubes, and a blower. The mats are sealed to the floor, the air tubes run from the mats to the blower, and the blower draws air to it through the tubes. This puts the mats under a vacuum pressure. The vacuum pressure is designed to keep air moving along the seams and groves on the underside of the wood planks. This air movement is what dries the wood floor, so if the groves, or “flutes” are blocked with other flooring layers or glue, then the floor is unlikely to dry fast enough to prevent mold growth.
Injection systems are, in my opinion, one of the best specialty equipment systems. It is so versatile and can be used along with other systems easily. Injection systems use specialty air movers or adapters to pump air into spaces for drying. Almost anything with a void space can benefit from injection systems, although the additional cost is not always justified. Because it uses the air space it sits in to pump air into cavities, injection systems are especially good for pumping dry air from a dehumidifier, or warm air from a heating system into the spaces for drying. Problem areas can be dried using injection and inventive methods of using it. Insulation and vapor barriers are still a concern with injection systems, and thorough moisture checking is a must.
Air scrubbers and negative air machines are still more examples of specialty equipment. Air scrubbers are simply air filters that use HEPA filters to clean particulates out of the air as it passes though the filter. Negative air machines are simple air moves designed in such a way that putting up containment with the machine on its border is easily accomplished. Air scrubbers for water damage professionals are most often designed to be used also as negative air machines. These pieces of equipment are usually thought of for use in mold damage cleanup, but also have uses in water restoration jobs where no mold is found. Negative air machines can be essential to keep required demolition from creating a mess in other areas of the structure, and air scrubbers can be useful when particulates in the air are a problem, such as blown in insulation from a collapsed ceiling, or plaster from a lath and plaster constructed structure.
New equipment gets developed all the time. Just because it isn’t mentioned here, does not mean it is not a viable option for a drying project. Whatever equipment is used, it is always important to check the moisture and verify that it dried properly. More on meters can be found on the main equipment page.
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